Ruud Sondag, the interim boss of Schiphol, is afraid of that
the eventual shrinkage of the airport will be even greater now that the previous downsizing plan has been suspended. According to him, this is partly due to legal wrangling.
Sondag responded on Sunday evening News hour for the first time on the decision of Minister Mark Harbers (Infrastructure) to put the plan on hold for the time being.
The number of flight movements at Schiphol should be limited to 460,000 next summer season in the original reduction plan. After Europe and the United States raised major objections, the outgoing minister decided last week to suspend that plan.
Schiphol has already indicated that it is not happy with Harbers’ decision. Sondag said News hour that he is disappointed that the residents of Schiphol are again getting the short end of the stick. At the same time, he fears legal action because people are becoming “angrier and angrier”. “Then things could end up much worse for Schiphol and end up with far fewer flights.”
He referred, among other things, to gas extraction in Groningen. “There are other places in the Netherlands where the interests of the neighbors have been neglected for too long,” he said. “Ultimately, no more gas will be drilled. I am afraid, and that is a really serious signal, that if this escalates further, Schiphol will be at risk of even more shrinkage.”
Sondag expects that approximately 435,000 flights will pass through Schiphol this year. But now that the downsizing plan has not yet come into effect, the maximum number of flight movements per year may return to 500,000. However, the CEO expects that the airport will not achieve that number due to capacity problems.
“I think 460,000 was really asking something from people,” said Sondag. He thinks he will have more clarity in three weeks about what the airport can handle next year.