Amsterdam airport urges travellers to stay away as strike causes chaos

Flights to and from Schiphol were cancelled and delayed

Travellers wait at the luggage claim area of Schiphol airport as KLM personnel strike. AFP
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Amsterdam's Schiphol airport urged travellers on Saturday to stay away as a strike by ground personnel at the start of the school holidays caused chaos at Europe's third-busiest airport.

Dozens of flights were cancelled or delayed as a group of KLM baggage handlers went on strike for several hours to protest against working conditions and staff shortages.

The strike by baggage handlers coincided with the first day of the school break and families flying out on holiday for the first time since coronavirus restrictions were lifted in many countries.

It ended around noon, but delays were expected to continue into the afternoon.

In the late morning, Schiphol said on its website that its terminals were so busy it was advising passengers not to come to the airport.

"The terminal is too full at the moment ... Schiphol is calling on travellers to not come to the airport anymore", it said.

"We are very sorry to have to do this, but it is necessary to guarantee safety."

Police closed motorway exits to the airport on Saturday afternoon as lines at departure gates stretched out of airport buildings.

The strike “has given us a very unpleasant start to the holiday period that so many people have been looking forward to”, KLM said.

The strike ended after baggage handlers spoke to KLM management.

The carrier said discussions focused on staff shortages, heavy workload and long-term employment prospects for ground staff.

“We will of course continue these conversations in the coming period,” KLM said.

Updated: April 23, 2022, 3:01 PM