Schiphol Group CEO To Depart As Flight Disruptions Continue

Credit: Sem Van Der Wal/Getty Images

Royal Schiphol Group, which operates Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS), said its CEO will step down as the airport continues to struggle with flight disruptions.

AMS additionally announced a further capacity cut and warned flight limitations would apply until at least the end of the year. A further reduction in the passenger capacity cap has now been imposed through Oct. 31.

Outgoing AMS CEO Dick Benschop will remain at his post until a successor is found. Royal Schiphol Group has started the search and said it “remains in close contact with the board of management about the situation at Schiphol and the measures to be taken.”

In a statement, Benschop said: “A lot of attention, and criticism, has been directed toward the way in which Schiphol is tackling the problems and my responsibility as CEO. On my own initiative, I am giving Schiphol the space to make a new start. I do not want the attention on me as an individual to become an obstacle for Schiphol.”

The Netherlands airport, which is KLM’s’ base hub, has been among the worst affected by the staffing shortages, flight delays and cancellations that have marred the post-COVID-19 summer recovery for Europe’s airlines, though the situation appeared to be showing some signs of improvement after the peak summer vacation season.

Before the peak vacation season got underway, Schiphol announced it would impose flight caps in an attempt to limit disruptions. Those caps have been adjusted several times over the summer and, in the latest development, the group said it would have to further cut flight capacity until Oct. 31 after security companies said they would supply fewer security guards over the coming months than previously indicated.

The maximum number of locally departing passengers per day will be reduced by an average of 18%, or 9,250, at least until the end of October.

Previously, AMS had foreseen a maximum of 67,500 locally departing travelers per day for September and 69,500 for October. The new maximum will be 54,500 per day in September and 57,000 per day in October.

“The effects of it will become visible over the next two weeks,” the airport group said. “Schiphol expects to apply limitations to the daily number of passengers at least until the end of the year.”

Helen Massy-Beresford

Based in Paris, Helen Massy-Beresford covers European and Middle Eastern airlines, the European Commission’s air transport policy and the air cargo industry for Aviation Week & Space Technology and Aviation Daily.