Schiphol suffers €77 million loss due to capacity problems

Schiphol suffered a substantial loss last year due to the problems at the airport. The restrictions implemented due to staff shortages cost the umbrella organization Schiphol Group about 120 million euros, resulting in a loss of 77 million euros. The number of travelers did double, but that number would have been a lot higher without the restrictions.

Due to a shortage of security workers, Schiphol had to ask airlines to reduce their departing passengers during the busy summer season. Schiphol proved unable to handle the large crowds after the coronavirus pandemic and the return of travel demand. Schiphol had to compensate companies and travelers for flights that were canceled or missed due to long lines at the airport.

The airport did record about 83 percent more turnover than a year earlier, just under 1.5 billion euros. In 2021, the aviation sector showed the first recovery from the coronavirus crisis. Then the airport incurred a loss of 287 million euros from ordinary operations, but due to some windfalls, the profit under the line amounted to 104 million. In 2022, Schiphol suffered a 28 million loss from ordinary operations.

2022 was a “bad year,” Schiphol said. “The commitment and hard work of everyone at Schiphol did not lead to the necessary improvements in the system,” said Ruud Sondag, who took over as interim CEO in November after Dick Benschop resigned. “As a result, we have not been able to provide the service we wanted. 2022 will go down in our history books as a bad chapter. A chapter that we will not forget and use to perform better from now on. In 2022, we started implementing structural improvements. Because we have to do better. I am convinced we can.”

Schiphol is not yet sure how the recovery will continue this year. “That depends on the development of Covid, any necessary operational restrictions, and – in the medium term – the Dutch government’s announcement to reduce the number of flight movements at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to 440,000 from November 2024,” the airport said.

Schiphol also wants to limit the number of departing passengers again up to and including mid-May. The airport has too few baggage handlers to cope with full-capacity crowds, the airport said. But sources told the Telegraaf that there are staff shortages across the board, including in security.

According to the Telegraaf, another reason for the passenger limits is that Schiphol is giving transfer passengers priority. The airport does not include transfers in passenger numbers. But their baggage still has to be moved from one plane to the next.

That means the passenger limit on other holidaymakers may turn out higher than the 5 percent Schiphol was working with. “Sources in the aviation world” told the Telegraaf that the airport may even cut 10 percent of departing passengers.

Reporting by ANP and NL Times

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