Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport has reportedly written to airlines asking them to cancel flights and stop taking new bookings in order to relieve overcrowding at the airport which has been caused by a surge in demand coupled with severe staff shortages.
Overcrowding and delays have plagued the Netherlands’ largest airport and one of Europe’s main transit points since the beginning of the Spring holiday season.
Last weekend, Schipol told passengers to stop coming to the airport altogether after a wildcat strike by ground workers at Dutch flag carrier KLM Airlines grounded flights. Although the strike was resolved after just a few hours, the knock of effects were felt over the course of the weekend.
For the past week, Schipol airport has continued to warn passengers that they could face severe delays and says queues might be moved outside to avoid dangerous overcrowding in the terminal buildings.
The airport has admitted that along with exceptionally high demand, many of the problems are down to staff shortages – a combination of high sickness rates, as well as struggling to recruit back jobs lost during the course of the pandemic.
Dutch media reports that executives at Schipol airport wrote to airlines earlier this week asking them to cancel flights over this weekend in order to relieve pressure at the airport. Officials admitted in the letter that there was no short term fix to the problems facing the airport.
Schipol also reportedly asked airlines to stop taking new bookings for flights scheduled over the next few weeks.
Several airlines have allegedly refused the request, although KLM is expected to cancel some flights. This could be, however, more down to its own staff shortages which is an issue facing airlines across Europe.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.