Schiphol wants to structurally spend more money on the quality of services at the airport. This was stated by interim chief executive Ruud Sondag and top financial officer Robert Carsouw during a press conference on the half-year figures. That money will go to personnel, among other things, but also to maintenance and renovation of the airport. However, all these costs may ultimately affect ticket prices.
Schiphol expects between 60 and 64 million passengers this year. To ensure that they can travel well, the airport has invested heavily, including staff for the security department. The lack of staff led to long queues at Schiphol last year. Since then, 1050 new security staff have been hired, and those queues are a thing of the past, Sondag said.
That comes at a high cost. For example, the salaries of those employees have gone up, and security gates have also been replaced to increase throughput. “A lot of these costs are structural; we’re not going to do that differently in the future,” Carsouw affirms. The airport itself is also in need of renewal. For example, the capacity of one of the baggage handling halls needs to be increased. The boarding gates are also being addressed, as is overdue maintenance.
As a result, the airlines will bear a large part of these costs, which may be reflected in the price of airline tickets. But Sondag is not worried that airlines will leave because of this. “We used to be accused of a lack of quality. Now we are fixing that, and a logical consequence is higher costs. But you can’t say anything other than that the quality of the processes leads to greater passenger loyalty.”
The airport fees have gradually increased by dozens of percent in recent years, much to the dissatisfaction of airlines. They felt the increases were unjustified because of the problems Schiphol faced. However, according to the Authority for Consumer Protection and Market Economy (ACM), the adjusted fees are “not unreasonable” for the airlines, as the airport has taken steps to address the problems.
Schiphol’s operating costs have already risen sharply due to salary increases and higher inflation. But Sondag says Schiphol must stand for the quality this increase will bring. “Failure is no longer an option,” he said. “If price is the motive, then we will go back to what we had. And that’s not where we want to go back to.”
Reporting by ANP