The Chief Executive Officer of the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport Dick Benschop has resigned this week as the airport faced another series of horrendous lines that stretched far outside the terminal buildings.
Amsterdam has been a nightmare for months with people standing hours in line or missing their flights entirely during peak periods and it seems the boss has finally taken responsibility for the situation.
Last month, Schiphol also announced a compensation scheme for the passengers affected that have missed their flights and incurred damages due to the airport management’s incompetence.
Despite management pledging that the situation would improve yet, there was very little relief to passengers leaving from Amsterdam, and the situation was just as bad or even worse this past week.
As Reported by the NL Times, the Schiphol CEO Dick Benschop has now resigned pending the appointment of his successor.
Dick Benschop has announced his plans to step down as the CEO of Schiphol Airport. His decision came after yet another period where excessively long security lines led to thousands of passengers missing their flight this week.
Benschop told the Supervisory Board of his plans on Wednesday night. His decision was supported by the board, which has started to look for a successor. Benschop will remain in charge of the airport until his successor takes the reins.
After weeks of relative calm, long lines returned to the airport first on 5 September, and then again on 12 September. In the latter, which was this past Monday, passengers had to wait in lines of up to three hours to access the security checkpoints at Departures 1 and Departures 3. It resulted in the airport asking airlines to cancel flights, angering the carriers as the airport committed to improving operations and capacity. Queues were also lengthy on Tuesday and Wednesday, but not quite as bad as before.
“Due to the situation and the continuing bad news, the Supervisory Board has had very intensive contact with Schiphol’s management in recent months,” said Jaap Winter, the supervisory board chair for the airport. “Drastic measures were taken under Dick’s leadership to stabilize the situation at Schiphol. Improvements were made in the summer, but this was not enough. Further intervention in the capacity and in the management of security is necessary.”
The lines returned once security workers stopped receiving a summer bonus of 5.25 euros per hour, which was used to entice the guards to keep showing up for work during the school vacation period. More changes are needed to prevent further problems, said the FNV labor union.
They want the airport to take control of operations, instead of continuing to outsource it to security companies, temp agencies, and self-employed workers. They also want the airport to make scheduling more consistent, with workers offered a full eight-hour shift for each day they work, instead of being brought in to plug gaps.
Staff shortages in baggage handling and airport security caused massive lines at the airport in recent months. The chaos broke out on April 23, the first weekend of the May vacation, and persisted throughout the summer. Travelers spent hours waiting in line, often outside in the hot summer. Many missed their flights. Tens of thousands of suitcases were left behind, and there were even a few clashes between desperate travelers and overworked security guards.
In late May, Benschop faced criticism for being absent from the airport often while employees struggled to deal with the massive crowds. Benschop insisted that he was always available and said he wouldn’t resign.
It would be nice to see more senior managers finally take responsibility for the decisions that were made in recent years, including all the cost-cutting, the firing of workers during the pandemic, and outsourcing of key tasks to cheap temp agencies.
Management decisions alone have caused the chaos we’re seeing at European airports, and so far, the higher-ups have continued to receive fat paychecks while passengers suffer and employees that keep the airports running (those that are left at least) earn peanuts.
Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport boss Benschop has resigned and will leave his position as soon as a successor is in place, following new chaos at the airport and long lines that stretched far outside the terminal buildings last week.
It’s unclear if this leadership change will bring any improvements to the predicament of Schiphol Airport. The demands of airport workers don’t seem to be too far-fetched, yet it appears the airport management was so far more interested in squeezing the last penny out of the operations. Rather than spending a bit more money, management risks workers walking out and causing this disaster.