Employees of ground handling companies at Schiphol often do not report accidents, partly because they are sent from pillar to post. As a result, both the safety of employees and those in the air is at stake, says the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) in a report, writes NH News.
The ILT came across violations of the safety rules during every inspection. Fire extinguishers are blocked, driving is done within the perimeter of the aircraft and carts are parked where they are not allowed.
Employees would also have to perform heavy work under constant time pressure. Unsafe situations are often not reported to managers. Staff are afraid of suspension, dismissal or missing out on a promotion.
Auxiliary motors remain on
Auxiliary engines of stationary aircraft must be switched off as soon as possible. But the report shows that this is not happening, while it is essential to to limit emissions of harmful substances and noise nuisance and to promote the safety of ground personnel.
Ground handling safety is a joint responsibility of ground handling companies, Schiphol and the airlines. The ILT says it will enforce more often and, where necessary, stop ground handling of an aircraft if work is done unsafely.
From 37 to 500 fines or warnings
The report also states that the number of fines for flights that land at Schiphol at night without a valid reason is explosive has increased. In 2021, the ILT issued 37 fines or warnings for night violations. In 2022 there were 500.
This increase can partly be explained by the fact that fewer flights were flown in 2021 due to the corona crisis. The ILT has also tightened up the rules to prevent airlines from abusing their take-off and landing rights.
FNV is shocked
Trade union FNV is shocked by the unsafe situations at Schiphol. According to a spokesperson, the union has been advocating better working conditions at the airport for years. But unsafe situations are being swept under the carpet, he says at the regional broadcaster. “Only by improving working conditions will work at Schiphol become safer and more attractive for new employees.”