Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport has declared that 2022 was a record year for both disappointed customers and financial losses.
In an unusually blunt statement released on Friday (17 February), the major aviation hub on the outskirts of the Dutch capital revealed that the previous year had been characterised by poor customer experience and a loss of €28m (£24.9m).
Despite the airport seeing strong growth in traffic, the statement, titled “Schiphol closes a poor 2022”, described its services as disappointing and its financial results as “poor”.
Ruud Sondag, chief executive of the Royal Schiphol Group, wrote: “Never before in the history of Schiphol have we disappointed so many travellers and airlines as in 2022.
“Our efforts and hard work did not lead to the necessary improvements in the system and, as a result, we were not able to provide the service we wanted. 2022 will therefore go down as a bad chapter in our own history books.”
Mr Sondag commended the hard work and dedication of the staff at Schiphol, but acknowledged that the airport had fallen short when it came to making the necessary improvements.
He promised that the company would learn from its mistakes, however, stating that 2022 would see the implementation of “structural improvements”.
“We have to do better. And I am convinced that we can,” he added.
The Dutch government has already announced plans to limit capacity at Schiphol to 440,000 flights per year, but has not confirmed when this come into effect.
In the interim, the airport plans to limit departures by around 5 per cent until May because of a shortage of baggage handlers.
Schiphol airport is one of several across Europe to have been hit by staff shortages and soaring demand as air travel rebounded strongly from two years of Covid-19 restrictions.
During the busy spring and summer periods in 2022, staff shortages at Schiphol often forced passengers to wait for hours in long lines that snaked out of the terminal, along an approach road, and back into the building.
The airport announced a compensation scheme for travellers whose holiday plans were derailed by cancellations or missed flights.
In September 2022, the airport’s CEO Dick Benschop resigned, saying he wanted to “give Schiphol the space to make a new start”.
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