Representative Daniel Kuerhuis of VVD visited Schiphol this weekend and heard “horrific stories”. He tweeted: “I can’t explain that Lelystad was ready and closed two years ago. Lelystad should open as soon as possible for flights from Schiphol.”
Ghost Lelystad Airport
Does he have a point and can Lestad relieve the pressure at Schiphol? The opening of the “ghost airport” in Lelystad has been delayed several times due to a lot of resistance and permits not imminent. “This is definitely not a short-term solution,” says aviation expert Joris Melkert. “Because if Lelystad opens for commercial flights, it will take some time.”
Furthermore, Lelystad can handle relatively few commercial flights. “Two percent of flights compared to Seafull. So, a drop in the ocean.”
Even Arnold Berlage, an aviation journalist for many years, calls it “utter nonsense” to say that Lelystad airport could be a solution. “Aside from the limited limit, you and Lelystad suffer from the same problem as Schiphol. And that is: a massive understaffing.”
Joost van Doesburg of the FNV Schiphol trade union says opening Lelystad will only make the Schiphol problem worse: “Schiphol and Lelystad are in roughly the same areas. And in terms of staff, you’re fishing in the same pond. You can’t solve the catering staff by opening another new restaurant.” “.
Invest in your people
Schiphol realizes that she is struggling with a significant staff shortage. At the check-in counters, but also in the luggage and security sections. Because of the Corona pandemic, many airport employees – often on contract without working hours – have found other (and often affordable) jobs.
“So invest in your people,” van Doesburg suggests as a solution. “Arrange permanent contracts for your employees, safe working conditions and a living wage. Baggage clerk’s wages now total €10.30 per hour. Office clerk’s gross wage is €11.20. Ridiculous.”
According to aviation expert Arnold Berlage, Schiphol management already learned in January that this problem was coming. “A mistake was made not to foresee it. The investment in personnel should have been made on time.”
Fun trips for the holidays
Another contribution to finding a solution, according to Berlage, is the increased deployment of flights. “Airports in Maastricht and Groningen are not yet at capacity. Staff can still make a few flights there.”
But this is not the golden egg, Berlage says. It will be more effective to choose a different policy. “The Schiphol management is now mainly focused on volume: the more trips the better. But Schiphol can also be more selective. Less focus on so-called fun trips for cheap holidays. They now consume a lot of capacity and quality. You can refuse these trips. more.”
How long can the Schiphol chaos last? The minister said there would be no end to significant delays and flight cancellations in Schiphol for the time being. Mark Harpers (Infrastructure) against the telegraph.
Last Friday, Deputy Prime Minister Sigrid Kaag said the Cabinet did not see itself as a major role in managing the chaos in Schiphol. Cabinetry “keeps its finger on the pulse.”
It’s going better
Aviation expert Melkert is not only passive. He thinks the problems before the summer holidays might not be so bad. “Big holidays are more spread out in the regions than the May holidays. During that time, it is also best to find students who can work at the airport as a job while on vacation. The current Schiphol manager, Dick Bunchob, also started as a student in the baggage department.”
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