It seems the capacity cap that was put in place by the management of Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is going to be hanging around a lot longer as the airport struggles with people power.
More caps at Schiphol – Image, Economy Class and Beyond
The cap, which affects the number of travellers that can depart from the airport will now continue until the end of March 2023.
The move has left airlines fuming again, as they now have to replan their capacity plans and operations.
Schiphol Airport management hints that There will be a time towards the end of the year when we will look at whether more might be possible from the end of January.
According to the airport, they have made this choice to provide travellers with a reliable travel experience, and predictability and stability for airlines. At the same time, the airport is working to improve capacity at security.
Based on the capacity made available by Schiphol, the independent slot coordinator (ACNL) will consult with all airlines to arrive at the required capacity reduction.
And you can bet that will go down a storm. Let us take the flag carrier that lives out of the airport – KLM.
Previously, airlines were required to reduce the number of local boarding passengers by 18% in the summer period through to the end of October. They have now been asked to implement reductions of up to 22% for the winter season, which lasts until the end of March.
This hopeless situation, lacking any perspective, has been in effect since May. Schiphol has repeatedly called on KLM and other airlines, and hence our passengers, to resolve this persistent problem. The ongoing constraints on passengers boarding locally is damaging our reputation among passengers who are keen and willing to travel after the extended Covid crisis.
Hanne Buis, COO at Royal Schiphol Group said:
Keeping to a maximum number of travellers is vital. We want to ensure the safety of employees and travellers, in addition to providing a more reliable airport process. This obviously affects travellers and airlines, which we of course consider very unfortunate. Together with the security companies and unions, we are working hard on making structural improvements – a daunting task in a very tight labour market. It’s something to be realistic about. That’s why it will only become clear later this year whether more is possible after January.
KLM President & CEO Marjan Rintel responded:
The situation at Schiphol has demanded too much for too long from our customers and our colleagues. KLM previously stated that the restriction of passenger numbers is not a long-term solution, but that seems to be where we are now headed. Schiphol’s newly announced restrictions for the winter season offer no perspective whatsoever.
What a way to run a hub
It seems Schiphol is the first of the major European hubs to break and decide to impose caps whilst they can, before the late autumn and winter travel seasons kick into high gear.
Given that airlines are unhappy – to put it mildly, it is now in Schiphol’s ball court.
Schiphol is working on solutions to the staff shortage with unions and security companies, with niceties such as better rosters, improved restrooms and better wages for security company employees.
It will remain to seen if this is enough to encourage people to work at the airport.
Meanwhile, KLM has no other choice but to further restrict ticket sales. And if they’re moaning out loud, you can imagine what other airlines are saying.
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