Staff shortages lead to more queues and chaos at Schiphol Airport
The May school holidays might be over, but the chaotic scenes at Schiphol continue, with travellers facing extreme security queues on Monday as the airport contends with severe staff shortages.
Long queues and delayed flights at Schiphol
The Netherlands’ biggest airport continues to face severe staff shortages amidst the national labour crisis - a situation exacerbated by disputes over workers’ contracts and the fact that a high number of employees are off sick or have recently retired. This means anyone travelling via Schiphol Airport risks excessively long wait times.
On Monday afternoon, a number of holidaymakers took to social media to complain about hours-long queues which resulted in them missing their flights. On Twitter, Ruben Toren said he’d queued for over five hours, ultimately missing his flight. Other travellers had similar experiences, with many criticising the airport’s poor planning. “You’re an embarrassment to the country,” one user told airport management.
Dutch Marechaussee reports some travellers became aggressive
Travellers also faced long queues and delays on Saturday afternoon and evening, with NH Nieuws reporting that rising tensions amongst frustrated passengers resulted in an altercation between security staff and travellers. A spokesperson for the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee told the Dutch press that “a group of travellers became aggressive” at around 7pm on Saturday evening, “when several security checkpoints were closed despite the large crowds.”
Travellers are said to have turned on security staff: “The staff felt threatened and closed all shutters, after which the aggressive mob started ramming the shutters.” Images on Twitter also show how staff members ran to the aid of a security guard who is believed to have fainted.
Schiphol Airport unprepared for a busy summer season
According to airport management, the most recent issues have arisen as a result of shortages amongst security staff. "It is extremely annoying for travellers. We are doing everything we can to avoid long lines,” a spokesperson said, emphasising that the latest shortages come on top of the issues the airport was already experiencing.
A spokesperson explained to the Dutch press that the airport expects daily passenger numbers to remain high throughout the coming months in the run-up to the summer, meaning anyone planning to travel in the future should be prepared for long waiting times. “We need more security guards, but those people have to be trained first. That takes time," the spokesperson explained.