Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport is once again telling airlines to cancel flights at short notice because of staffing woes at its security screening checkpoints. The airport warned passengers on Monday to expect delays and potential disruption after contracted security companies failed to provide enough security officers to properly staff several checkpoints.
“Staffing levels at security today are lower than what Schiphol had requested of the security companies. As a result, there is a shortage of security personnel and the number of waiting travellers is increasing, especially in Departures 3,” the airport said in a statement.
Schiphol confirmed that it had asked “several airlines” to cancel flights scheduled to depart between 4 pm and 11 pm, although the airport didn’t confirm which airlines and a spokesperson did not say whether those airlines were willing to cooperate.
KLM services to Belfast, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Dusseldorf had been cancelled on Monday afternoon. Other services to Luxembourg, Copenhagen and Frankfurt had also been affected by the cancellations.
The Dutch flag carrier appears to have been the worst hit but easyJet, Transavia and Turkish Airlines have also cancelled some flights on Monday.
Passengers have been warned of “very long” queues which could stretch outside the terminal buildings. Nonetheless, passengers have been told not to arrive any earlier than four hours before departure because of the potential for overcrowding in the terminal.
Schiphol has struggled to cope with the surge in travel demand throughout the summer and passengers have, on occasion, experienced exceptionally long wait times to clear security checkpoints.
In some cases, queues have stretched for more than a kilometre outside the terminal building. Thousands of passengers have missed their flights as a result of the disruption, and the airport is now facing a huge compensation bill after agreeing to refund passengers who missed their flights as a result of the chaos.
Much to the annoyance of KLM, Schiphol has capped the number of locally departing passengers due to the staffing problems at its security checkpoints over the last few months.
In September, the cap was increased to 67,500 passengers per day and in October the cap will be further increased to 69,500 passengers.
KLM did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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.