Amsterdam Schiphol Airport CEO Steps Down

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport CEO Steps Down

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As Amsterdam Schiphol Airport continues to deal with unrivaled operational issues even after the summer travel peak, the airport’s CEO is stepping down.

Dick Benschop steps down as Schiphol Airport CEO

This week, Dick Benschop has handed in his resignation notice as President Director & CEO of Royal Schiphol Group. The Supervisory Board has accepted his resignation, and is looking for a successor as soon as possible.

Benschop will remain in office until a successor is found. Here’s what he had to say about his decision to step down:

“A lot of attention, and criticism, has been directed towards 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 situation at Schiphol and what that means for our travellers and employees is close to my heart. I have done my very best, but we’re not there yet. I hope that things improve soon. I love Schiphol. Managing this company was a great honour.”

Here’s what Jaap Winter, Chair of the Supervisory Board, had to say about Benschop’s resignation:

“Due to the situation and the ongoing bad news, the Supervisory Board has had very intensive contact with Schiphol’s management in recent months. All possibilities for improvement were and continue to be discussed. Under Dick’s leadership, far-reaching measures were taken to stabilise the situation at Schiphol. Improvements were made during the summer, but this isn’t enough. Further intervention in the capacity and management of the security companies is necessary. As a national and international airport, Schiphol must return to offering the quality of service that passengers and airlines are accustomed to. In recent years, Dick has shifted Schiphol’s course to focus on quality, care for the living environment and speeding up the process of making aviation more sustainable. We are very grateful for his leadership. We respect and understand Dick’s decision to resign. We hope to quickly find a successor.”

Schiphol Airport has been struggling

I feel bad for the next CEO of Schiphol Airport

Schiphol Airport had a catastrophic summer. Passengers dealt with security lines that were many hours long, and thousands of bags got lost. The situation got so bad that the airport has even started compensating passengers for what went wrong.

The issue is, even with the summer travel peak behind us, Schiphol Airport is still struggling, and asking airlines to limit flights. I don’t know much about Benschop, but I agree a leadership change is appropriate in light of the situation. I mean, things can’t get worse, can they?

At the same time, I really don’t envy the person who decides to accept this job. Not only will they continue to have to deal with the current labor shortage, but they’ll deal with the financial implications of the government imposing a new long-term “green” flight cap, which means that the airpot will shrink considerably over time.

Amsterdam is poised to shrink as a global hub

Bottom line

The CEO of Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is stepping down, after the airport’s horrible performance over the past several months. Hopefully some fresh thinking can make the airport less of a mess.

What do you make of Schiphol Airport’s CEO stepping down?

Conversations (38)
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  1. Grey Gold

    One thing that really ties his hands is that the Dutch government has a rule that requires most people working at Schiphol to have lived in NL for all of the past 8 years. So anybody who is young and did a gap year or anybody who spent some time in Belgium or Germany for a bit in the past 8 years is not eligible for the role, as they are considered a 'security risk.'

    One thing that really ties his hands is that the Dutch government has a rule that requires most people working at Schiphol to have lived in NL for all of the past 8 years. So anybody who is young and did a gap year or anybody who spent some time in Belgium or Germany for a bit in the past 8 years is not eligible for the role, as they are considered a 'security risk.'
    This means that they can not take advantage of the free movement of EU workers to fill these roles, while most other European airports can.

  2. Anonimous Guest

    Shiphol=Sh!thole right now

  3. Steve K Guest

    Where possible, I'm done with the big airports: LAX, DFW, ATL, MIA, BOS, EWR, LHR, FCO, CDG, AMS, FRA, SFO, PHL, MCO, JFK, BRU, ORD to name a few, incl. for transit. Soley arriving at these airports, e.g. a intra-Schengen flight, is still OK. My preferred mode for leaving Europe to the U.S. is via Dublin using pre-clearance or via KEF, Madrid, and Helsinki. The nightmare of airports is too stressful at times. So plan...

    Where possible, I'm done with the big airports: LAX, DFW, ATL, MIA, BOS, EWR, LHR, FCO, CDG, AMS, FRA, SFO, PHL, MCO, JFK, BRU, ORD to name a few, incl. for transit. Soley arriving at these airports, e.g. a intra-Schengen flight, is still OK. My preferred mode for leaving Europe to the U.S. is via Dublin using pre-clearance or via KEF, Madrid, and Helsinki. The nightmare of airports is too stressful at times. So plan routes that mitigate this.

    The quietest airports to use for Europe arrivals is RDU (Icelandair KEF), CLT, MSP (Icelandair from KEF) and SLC, but the problem is that for SLC you're looking at departing from CDG or FRA, ditto CLT incl. LHR, so lose on one end win the other.

    For a brief time there were flights from the U.S. to Stuttgart, Nice, Bordeaux, Nuremberg, and other less congested European airports. No more. So much for the b.s. about 'point to point' travel with the 787 hype.

    1. Mike Guest

      You must be loads of fun to fly with

    2. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      Stuttgart's flights to the Atlanta resume next March.

      Nice has more flights to the USA now than it did before, so don't know why it's on your list.

      You appear to be confusing Bordeaux with Lyon, otherwise not sure why the former is mentioned either.

      And who on earth do you believe offered scheduled service from Nuremberg to the USA for any length of time??

  4. Michael Guest

    It's an absolute disgrace and disaster what happened at the airport. How incompetent management could not foresee that after a two year lockdown people would not flock to the airport to travel? What did they do with all the money given by the government?! They fired everyone to make the bottom line look better. If you ask me he should have been fired months ago if not longer!!

  5. Hank Tarn Guest

    Another woke European failure. Green virtue signalling liberal elites waffle about emissions and targets to destroy their industry, while forgetting the actual importance of the working class team of staff to the airport machine running smoothly, and conditions at the airport.

    1. GUWonder Guest

      The racist right wing is very much ascendant in Europe, and the Netherlands has been at the forefront of Europe’s growing tolerance for racist intolerance.

      This guy who is stepping down from being in charge of AMS was politically to the right of the center.

    2. Grey Gold

      What green virtue signalling? The proposed flight cap reduction is a cabinet proposal, not a decision by the Schiphol CEO.

  6. Eskimo Guest

    Dick BenSchop. LOL Someone brought a knife through AMS?
    I hope it's a clean cut. Mike Rotch really feels the pain.

    1. John Guest

      And her pearls of 'wisdom' flow without cease.....LOL

  7. Jordan Gold

    The truth is plain greed. LHR and AMS lets say, was paying 10 units per hour, after the pandemic, they offered to rehire at 6 units per hour. Who's coming back, or coming forward for that?

    So they bring in a premium of 5 units per hour to take pay a smidge above pre pandemic. People show up, but leave after the premium pay ends.

    Simple. Greed!

    They also forgot that they killed or sickened many of the simple types that they thought would show up for 6 units per hour.

    1. GUWonder Guest

      Someone mentioned that the airport had been paying a €5-6 hourly supplement to some airport workers’ wages in order to address the staffing needs but then they withdrew that hourly wage supplement.

    2. Frog Guest

      When the wage supplement expired 13% of the security staff and a fairly sizeable number of baggage handlers just didn’t show up to work the next day. Absolutely incompetent management have ruined what used to once a very pleasant airport to fly through.

  8. Rudie cune Guest

    He really mishandled the situation and had no fresh ideas how to get things in order. Another few Euros airport tax for paying security staff could have saved his resignation. Really did not have a clue how to run the airport!

  9. Klick321 Guest

    Was at a trade show in Amsterdam this past week and the security cue was four or five hours long. And then folks would get through only to find flight cancelled…and flights were taking off 20 percent full as they didn’t wait for those stuck in the cue.

    Big part of issue is the end of bonuses paid out over the summer so folks stopped coming into work.

  10. Ryan Guest

    Good riddance. Many airports have struggled this year, but somehow every other airport in Europe (and the US for that matter) has figured this out. After flying all over Europe and the US this summer, Schiphol was the only problematic airport.

    1. Frederik Guest

      Heathrow isn’t in Europe. It is English, they aren’t the same.

    2. Icarus Guest

      The U.K. is in Europe. Where else is it ? Oceania ?

    3. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      "Heathrow isn’t in Europe."

      Wow, someone failed basic geography, lol.

    4. Tom Guest

      Heathrow has been a mess all summer but never to the level of AMS and seems to finally be getting it together now (I am London based). From London you also have choices for shorthaul at least, LCY has been great throughout COVID as always, LGW isn’t bad as long as you have premium security. It is difficult to understand just how AMS has got itself into such a unique mess.

  11. tcdtcd Guest

    Poor Dick - he stuck his head in the wrong places (green flying), instead of the issues at hand (labor shortages). Strokes of bad timing and bad judgement.

  12. ArnoldB Guest

    Literally stood 3h in the security queue today, partly uncovered outside with 13°C and heavy wind. Eventually got on the plane and then 50minute delay until ground handling arrived to load the bags into the plane. Insane.

    1. nomad1711 Guest

      I checked in on Friday, September 16th - 5 hours before departure of my Delta flight to the West Coast and had absolutely the smoothest passage within 25 minutes from queuing until passport check. Just place bags in bins and that was it. People were very friendly and accommodating.
      It was a Priority line though, but I was totally prepared for a long wait.
      Lounge 52 was packed and many flights to the US were delayed.

  13. Mark Guest

    The problem is why we have security at the gate at all? Just show the boarding Tix and let people through. Are they actually catching any criminals?

    1. David Diamond

      They are maybe saving some lives, but the cost is absolutely unacceptable. I think some reports peg TSA at $667 million per live saved. That is to say, these “security” programs are so inefficient they should not exist.

  14. DenB Diamond

    The same thing is happening at several other places, including Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal. Business/Aviation stories in Canada seem to agree that the problem is "governance", meaning there's no clear heirarchy (nobody to blame). Canadians can't help noticing that in USA, where return to flying began earlier and demand is currently higher, the problems are not as acute as in Canada, Netherlands. What's the structural difference between USA and the more troubled countries? As an aside,...

    The same thing is happening at several other places, including Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal. Business/Aviation stories in Canada seem to agree that the problem is "governance", meaning there's no clear heirarchy (nobody to blame). Canadians can't help noticing that in USA, where return to flying began earlier and demand is currently higher, the problems are not as acute as in Canada, Netherlands. What's the structural difference between USA and the more troubled countries? As an aside, each person I've spoken to cirectly has reported trouble-free (minimally delayed) travel from Toronto and Vancouver. But the presscontinues to report apocalyptic stats on delays, baggage, security queues.

    1. Tim Dunn Diamond

      they still think there is a meltdown going on in the US, in part because the present administration wants to beat up on airlines which they think they squeeze more out of.

      Today, a Friday in mid-September, there are just 64 out of more than 20,000 flights cancelled in the US at 4 pm. On-time is better than 90%.

      Europe - where the day is done - is far, far worse. Air Canada's on-time is the worst in N. America.

  15. Jimmy’s Travel Report Gold

    Connected in AMS today to the AMS-MEX flight which I’m sitting on right now. The connection went smooth, but our flight ended up going 90 minutes late waiting for passengers to get through local check in security. Finally the captain had luggage taken off the flight because there was no realistic way to get the people through security and into the gate area in time. I overheard one passenger saying that she had several family...

    Connected in AMS today to the AMS-MEX flight which I’m sitting on right now. The connection went smooth, but our flight ended up going 90 minutes late waiting for passengers to get through local check in security. Finally the captain had luggage taken off the flight because there was no realistic way to get the people through security and into the gate area in time. I overheard one passenger saying that she had several family members that weren’t able to join her on the flight. What a mess.

  16. Tim Dunn Diamond

    Another source says that the airport paid a five euro/hour premium to keep security workers, that just ended, and a wave of people just left

    Who knows what kind of budget he was given to fix problems but no business or airport or any other single entity can fix macroeconomic issues which include too few people willing to work for wages which are too low.

    AMS doesn't have a problem enough bodies - and...

    Another source says that the airport paid a five euro/hour premium to keep security workers, that just ended, and a wave of people just left

    Who knows what kind of budget he was given to fix problems but no business or airport or any other single entity can fix macroeconomic issues which include too few people willing to work for wages which are too low.

    AMS doesn't have a problem enough bodies - and enough money paying those bodies - can't fix but it doesn't mean the solution is economically viable.

    We have no idea if the ex-CEO just said "the math just doesn't work, guys; it's up to you all to figure it out."

    1. NedsKid New Member

      I think Tim nails it on the head. This is an issue far beyond the airport, and far beyond The Netherlands. I can't imagine the frustration of the ex-CEO. I had a bad enough time as General Manager of a ground handling operation keeping people even after raising pay 50-75% (because everyone else did the same). Tim is probably right: What more could the guy do but reach a point of holding up his hands...

      I think Tim nails it on the head. This is an issue far beyond the airport, and far beyond The Netherlands. I can't imagine the frustration of the ex-CEO. I had a bad enough time as General Manager of a ground handling operation keeping people even after raising pay 50-75% (because everyone else did the same). Tim is probably right: What more could the guy do but reach a point of holding up his hands and saying "Good luck" to the company?

      This does make me curious into the cost structure and rates/fees and recoveries paid by entities doing business at Schipol, namely the airlines. At what point do those stop wanting to foot the bill? I have in the past, even pre-Pandemic, dealt with an operation in the US where TSA was perpetually understaffed in a high cost of living area and the airport had a temporary checkpoint due construction that could not handle the morning rush. Airlines agreed in the short term to fund additional queue agents, people to shuttle bins, etc., but got to a point where enough was enough. We started leaving passengers behind every morning.. sometimes 20-30 a flight.

    2. Happy Flyer Member

      Why can't they contract out security? Hammer the contractor if problems arise.

    3. Andy Diamond

      That's what they did. But there are no alternative contractors standing by, at least not for the scale of operation needed at AMS. If you bankrupt the contracter you are like to have no security control at all for a very long period ...

  17. CHRIS Guest

    I guess it a good thing he was focusing on making aviation more sustainable while the place was burning down around him. His willful ignorance and incompetence cost tens (maybe hundreds) of thousands of people major disruptions to their lives. He can go to hell.

  18. Speedski Guest

    Its a mess. But not as much of a mess as KLM not extending status on people who've been actively told not to fly via the hub and pricing flights exiting AMS at horrendous prices (7x usual).

    1. Sharon Milner Guest

      The prices of flights from the US and Holland are about 30 per cent higher than last year.
      The hassle
      And
      Price are not worth it for me.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Icarus Guest

The U.K. is in Europe. Where else is it ? Oceania ?

5
tcdtcd Guest

Poor Dick - he stuck his head in the wrong places (green flying), instead of the issues at hand (labor shortages). Strokes of bad timing and bad judgement.

3
Grey Gold

One thing that really ties his hands is that the Dutch government has a rule that requires most people working at Schiphol to have lived in NL for all of the past 8 years. So anybody who is young and did a gap year or anybody who spent some time in Belgium or Germany for a bit in the past 8 years is not eligible for the role, as they are considered a 'security risk.' This means that they can not take advantage of the free movement of EU workers to fill these roles, while most other European airports can.

2
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