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The number of companies that handle baggage at Schiphol will be reduced to three. Minister Mark Harbers has decided this.

Minister Mark Harbers of Infrastructure and Water Management has made a decision that will have a significant impact on the way baggage handling is carried out at Schiphol, one of Europe's busiest airports. From now on, the number of companies providing these essential services will be reduced from six to three. This measure marks a turning point in efforts to increase operational efficiency and improve working conditions for staff.

The presence of six handlers at Schiphol is unique in the European aviation network, where most major airports are served by fewer parties. This fragmentation, while conducive to competition, has led to several challenges, including negative consequences for both the working conditions of employees and the overall quality of services. Incidents and disruptions in baggage handling, which have regularly arisen in recent years, have made this problem visible to a wide audience.

The decision to reduce the number of handlers follows a thorough analysis commissioned by the ministry. This research shows that the current market conditions at Schiphol are not suitable for such a large number of players. It is expected that by reducing the number of handlers, operational efficiency will increase, working conditions will improve and the quality of service can be raised to a higher level.

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Mark Harders

“It became clear to everyone in 2022 that things were not going well with baggage handling at Schiphol. That has to change,” says Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management Mark Harbers. “With this decision we can bring about positive change at the airport, for both passengers and baggage handling employees.”

Minister Harbers emphasized the urgency of this reform by referring to the problems that clearly came to light in 2022. “That has to change,” says Harbers. The ultimate goal is to bring about positive change for both passengers and baggage handling employees.

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Interestingly, the decision focuses specifically on baggage handling for passenger aircraft. The cargo sector and General Aviation handling are excluded from this measure to avoid operational and logistical complications. Nevertheless, it is clear that the government is also aiming for improvements in these sectors.

The final adoption of this decision has cleared the way for Schiphol to start a European tender procedure. This process is expected to take a year, followed by a transition period that will give all parties involved the opportunity to adapt to the new reality. This decision is a crucial step in the pursuit of a more efficient, safer and more employee-friendly aviation ecosystem in the Netherlands.

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