© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: KLM airplanes are seen parked at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, Netherlands April 2, 2020. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw
By Toby Sterling
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) -Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport on Thursday set a cap on the number of passengers it will handle during the summer travel season, citing labour shortages.
The move by one of Europe’s busiest airports means that airlines including KLM, the Dutch subsidiary of Air France-KLM, will have to cancel an unspecified number of flights.
Schiphol said it would accept around 70,000 passengers a day, about 16% – or 13,500 seats per day – fewer than airlines had planned.
“Setting a limit now means that the large majority of travellers will be able to travel from Schiphol in a safe and responsible way,” CEO Dick Benschop said in a statement.
KLM said it would hold Schiphol responsible for the financial impact of the move.
“It cannot be so that the people who use the airport structurally pay for Schiphol’s capacity problems,” the airline said.
KLM said that it did not expect to have to cancel existing bookings “on a large scale”.
Airports around Europe have suffered from labour and logistics issues as passenger travel surged following the end of COVID-19 lockdowns. Airlines including Lufthansa and easyJet (LON:EZJ) have already announced plans to reduce flights this summer.
Travel at Schiphol has been disrupted frequently since April due to shortages of security workers and baggage handlers. Hundreds of flights have been cancelled, and long lines have become routine.
Germany’s Lufthansa intends to cancel 900 domestic and European flights at its hubs in Frankfurt and Munich in July, on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays – about 5% of capacity. Its budget carrier Eurowings is dropping hundreds of flights for the same period.
EasyJet in Germany will drop around 12 flights per day to and from Berlin airport – a total of 1,000 – from June 1 to Aug. 31.