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Chaos at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport due to staff shortages and number of passengers

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By Mark Armstrong
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Large queues are exected at Schipol over the May holiday
Large queues are exected at Schipol over the May holiday   -   Copyright  EBU

Cancellations, delays, staff shortages and a strike have led to chaos at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport as people attempt to take to the skies for the May holidays.

Authorities are warning of significantly longer waiting times and the airport is attempting to reduce the crowds by asking airlines to reschedule flights to Rotterdam and the Hague.

In a statement, the airport said the companies have complied with the request, which was aimed at reducing the number of passengers by 3,500 on Saturday. 

“This is bad planning," said Frank Oostdam, director of the Dutch Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (ANVR). "We have known since January that many people want to go on holiday abroad in May. If you don’t prepare for that then this is what you get.”

“I think it is badly organised," complained one passenger. "They really need to look at this. It is dramatic that some people can’t go on holiday now.”

Thousands of people were affected last weekend after an unannounced strike by KLM baggage handlers, so this Friday's travellers gave themselves extra time.

Airline KLM said it would cancel 47 flights on Saturday and Sunday and more disruption could be in the pipeline.

The airport is advising travellers to check with their airlines to see how early they should arrive at Schiphol before their flights. Large crowds were also expected for Sunday.