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Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport is Winning the Internet With its ‘Brutally Honest’ Assessment of its Performance

Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport is Winning the Internet With its ‘Brutally Honest’ Assessment of its Performance

Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport managed to annoy and frustrate hundreds of thousands of passengers last year but the Dutch hub is currently winning the internet with a ‘brutally honest’ press release that owns the problems that marred the airport’s performance throughout 2022.

While a number of airlines and other airports have tried to put a gloss on their own operational woes or attempted to shift the blame, Schiphol told the world on Friday that the only record it broke last year was disappointing so many passengers.

To summarise the airport’s performance in 2022 in just one word, Schiphol chose ‘poor’ and admitted that efforts it made to improve performance throughout the year had been a failure.

“Never before in Schiphol’s history have we disappointed so many travellers and airlines as in 2022,” commented chief executive of the Royal Schiphol Group Ruud Sondag.

“Our efforts and hard work did not lead to the necessary improvements in the system and, as a result, we were not able to provide the service we wanted. 2022 will therefore go down as a bad chapter in our own history books.”

In a rare moment of optimism, however, Sondag said the airport wouldn’t seek to forget 2022 in order that it didn’t repeat the same mistakes. “We have to do better and I am convinced that we can,” Sondag said.

Schiphol Airport first started encountering major operational issues during last year’s Spring holidays just as pandemic-era travel restrictions were being lifted and travel demand bounced back.

Unfortunately, Schiphol had failed to hire enough security officers and huge queues for security checkpoints started to build up outside the terminal buildings. Efforts to recruit more staff were hampered by historically low pay and unattractive working conditions.

To get around its failure to recruit enough staff, Schiphol was forced to cap the number of passengers allowed to pass through the airport, annoying both passengers and its airline customers who lashed out at the ‘hopeless’ situation.

As a result, Schiphol effectively squandered the benefit of a strong recovery in traffic and ended up with a loss of €28 million for 2022. The airport racked up nearly €120 million in additional costs to recover from the myriad operational issues that marred 2022, including paying out huge sums in compensation to passengers who missed their flights while waiting in security tailbacks.

Total passenger numbers in 2022 were down around 19 million compared to 2019 but up nearly 150 per cent on 2020.

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