A KLM spokesperson said it will not fly to Schiphol again tomorrow with an empty plane. Tonight, about forty airliners were flying empty back to Amsterdam, because it was very busy at the airport.
“We expect that we will not have to take this action again tomorrow,” the spokesman said. Because of ‘conditions’, society assumes tomorrow will be a less crowded day. In addition, the wind is more convenient.
Nor does KLM fly “normally” again. Because of the Pentecost crowds, it has already been decided to cancel fifty flights a day. The Pentecost system is maintained.
At the end of the afternoon, KLM decided to take hardly more passengers from European destinations to Schiphol. At least 42 Cityhoppers, KLM planes carrying 132 passengers, have returned empty due to the decision. Twelve flights, including from Ibiza, Athens, Paris and Malaga, were able to continue passengers on board.
“Flights with many carried passengers were returned empty,” the spokesperson says. “It saved space, especially in the transport offices in Schiphol. It got so busy there that there was a danger of overcrowding.” According to the spokesperson, the plane had to return empty so it could carry passengers away from Schiphol.
“a combination of factors”
According to KLM, the decision was related to “a combination of factors”. For example, wind direction has made landing difficult and Aalsmeerbaan undergoes long-term maintenance. Several flights were canceled or delayed as a result. The crowds at the airport also played a role. According to the airline, there were too many passengers who could not leave from Schiphol, and this had to be resolved first.
“To ensure a continued safe and functional situation for passengers and crew in Schiphol, KLM has taken the influential decision not to carry new passengers to Amsterdam,” it said in a statement this afternoon.
Passengers who have stayed in European destinations will have to wait until KLM finds an alternative flight for them. “We understand that this decision has a significant impact on passengers, especially during the Whitsun weekend,” KLM said.
There were long queues in Schiphol all day. The airport is experiencing a staff shortage, which has resulted in long queues for weeks on end. KLM previously reported that it is canceling up to fifty flights per day this weekend. The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management describes the crowds at the airport as “extremely alarming”. “Schiphol does not currently provide the quality that we expect from the airport,” the ministry told ANP news agency.
“This suggests that the problems at Schiphol are more structural and larger than we thought,” says Joost van Doesburg of the FNV trade union. He believes that the problems are mainly due to the understaffing of KLM itself. “There is a serious shortage of baggage handlers and ramp staff. We saw the mountain of bags that had to be dealt with already piling up in the afternoon.”
FNV struck an agreement with Schiphol this week to pay more airport employees. “But this will not solve the short-term shortage. Today’s large crowds are again no hype to come to work in Schiphol.”
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