On Thursday, Schiphol presented an action plan to stem the chaos at the airport. One part of that is the cancellation of flights. “That is not possible just like that and, moreover, it does not help,” says Elbers in conversation with Luchtvaartnieuws Magazine.
The biggest bottleneck is the shortage of security guards and employees on the ground. This creates hours of queues at the check-in counters and security checkpoint. Schiphol hopes to attract new staff through a recruitment campaign and a job market.
At the same time, airlines are being asked to reduce the number of passengers by canceling flights. “That won’t work, because people who see their flight canceled still have to go on another flight and therefore also through security at Schiphol,” says Elbers.
According to Elbers, Schiphol must look at a number of other measures to solve the problems. “Think of rescheduling flights to Rotterdam or Eindhoven, or extending Schiphol’s opening hours so that flights can also be flown at night. Create separate queues for those without hand luggage, or encourage travelers not to bring hand luggage at all to speed up security. If necessary, get security guards from other sectors. They may be unorthodox measures, but they may be more effective than canceling flights that disrupt an entire network.”
Bill towards Schiphol
To relieve some of the pressure on the operation, KLM announced on Thursday that it would put the brakes on ticket sales. “With a heavy heart,” says Elbers. Schiphol can expect an invoice for the costs incurred by KLM. “But the question is what money will solve if the confidence of travelers in Schiphol and, indirectly, KLM is damaged.”
The June issue of Luchtvaartnieuws Magazine contains an exclusive farewell interview with Pieter Elbers about his career at KLM. Subscribe now to receive this edition in your letterbox.