Queue-hit Amsterdam airport slashes flights to March

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Silhouette of group of travelers at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Silhouette of group of travelers at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Amsterdam's beleaguered Schiphol airport said on Friday it would limit the number of flights until the end of March as one of Europe's biggest hubs struggles with long queues as air travel rebounds.

Dut to severe staff shortages after laying off thousands during the Covid-19 pandemic, travellers at Schiphol have been confronted with huge queues lasting several hours in recent months.

The airport has forced airlines to cut their number of flights, offered compensation to passengers who have missed their planes, and chief executive Dick Benschop resigned earlier this month.

"In the coming months, Schiphol will maintain the maximum number of travellers that can depart from the airport, after consultation with the airlines," the airport said in a statement.

"The airport expects to do this until the end of March. There will be a moment towards the end of the year when it will be examined whether more is possible from the end of January."

The airport's chief operating officer Hanne Buis admitted the limit was "annoying" but said that improving the situation was "a big task in a very tight labour market. We have to be realistic about that."

Dutch national carrier KLM, Schiphol's biggest user, said the airport's "service has been substandard for too long."

Previous limits had amounted to an 18 percent reduction in the number of departing passengers. The new limits valid through March represent a 22 percent reduction, it said.

"With the new restrictions for the winter, Schiphol does not offer us any perspective," KLM chief executive Marjan Rintel said in a statement.

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