THE HAGUE – The Netherlands' busiest airport is reining in flight departures over its busy summer period because shortages of security staff mean it cannot cope with the high demand as many families take to the skies for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic has eased.
The decision is likely to affect the vacation plans of thousands of travelers each day, the airport's CEO said Thursday.
Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, one of Europe’s busiest, said in a statement that on average, from July 7 until the end of the month, there are about 13,500 seats per day above the capacity that the airport's security staff can handle. A decision on August flights will be taken later.
The airport, which saw lengthy delays and flight cancellations during school vacations last month, did not say how many flights a day it would have to cancel, saying some of the seats have not yet been sold and passengers may be able to depart from different airports.
“It is, of course, frustrating,” CEO Dick Benschop told reporters. “Frustrating for the people concerned, families who have looked forward (to traveling); frustrating for airlines, the first real summer after COVID; frustrating for travel organizations and frustrating for us.”
Schiphol is not the only European airport struggling to cope with staff shortages and skyrocketing demand for flights after two pandemic-hit years.
Travelers in Britain suffered days of airport delays during the Easter school holidays, with British Airways and easyJet canceling hundreds of flights because of coronavirus-related staff absences. Hours-long lines built up at British airport check-in, security and baggage points.
Benschop said Schiphol had no choice but to act now.
“It is not responsible to go into the summer hoping for the best,” he said. “We are responsible for our passengers and staff and for their security and health.”
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