Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, one of Europe's busiest, has agreed to reimburse travelers who missed flights because of staff shortages that have thrown the airport into chaos for months.
Since April, Schiphol has seen staff shortages at security checkpoints that led to lengthy lines, which could take hours to clear, causing thousands of travelers to miss their flights. In May, the situation caused Dutch flagship carrier KLM to suspend ticket sales from Amsterdam.
In a statement Thursday, the airport said the agreement calls for compensating airline passengers who were at the airport on time between April 23 and August 11 of this year, but missed their flight due to an exceptional waiting time at security control. Affected travelers will have until September 30 to submit a request for compensation.
The airport statement said the agreement was developed in cooperation with the Dutch consumer association, Consumentenbond, and Max Vakantieman, host of a Dutch television show that addresses travel problems, which frequently aired complaints about Schiphol. The agreement heads off a possible mass claim for passengers being considered by the consumer association.
In the statement, airport CEO Dick Benschop apologized for the delays that forced people to miss their holidays. He wrote, "During these special times and circumstances, we must not let these people fall through the cracks."
The Associated Press reports Schiphol was among several European airports, including London's Heathrow, which was plunged into chaos by staff shortages and soaring demand as air travel rebounded strongly from two years of COVID-19 restrictions.
Airlines and airports slashed jobs during the pandemic, making it difficult to quickly ramp back up to serve the new burst of travelers.
Some information for this report was provided by the Associated Press.