Strike causes chaos at Amsterdam airport when holiday starts

Travelers wait in lines at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport as an unannounced ground crew strike caused many delays and cancellations, in Amsterdam, Netherlands April 23, 2022. REUTERS/Anthony Deutsch

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AMSTERDAM, April 23 (Reuters) – Schiphol has called on travelers to stay away for several hours on Saturday, as a strike by ground staff at the start of a school holiday caused chaos at Europe’s third busiest airport.

“The terminal is currently too full… Schiphol calls on travelers not to come to the airport anymore,” the airport authorities said in a statement issued shortly before 12:00 (1000 GMT).

Nearly three hours later, the airport said passengers were welcome again, but would still face long waits and possible delays or cancellations.

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The police briefly closed the highway exits to the airport on Saturday afternoon, because there were queues at the departure gates from the airport buildings.

A Schiphol spokesperson said the temporary closure was necessary to ensure safety and to get as many of the thousands of frustrated passengers on board their often-delayed flights as possible.

The baggage handlers of KLM, the Dutch branch of airline Air France-KLM (AIRF.PA), went on strike early on Saturday to demand higher wages and better working conditions.

KLM ground staff processes approximately half of all baggage arriving via Schiphol, the third busiest airport in Europe after Paris Charles de Gaulle and London Heathrow.

The FNV union said the strike ended around noon.

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Reporting by Anthony Deutsch; Writing by Bart Meijer; Editing by David Holmes

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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