Mess in Amsterdam today

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Old Jan 12, 19, 4:01 am
  #271  
 
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Originally Posted by johan rebel View Post
It has become a bad habit of theirs. All it takes is the slightest intimation that a snowflake or two may perhaps be spotted in the vicinity of Schiphol, or that a gust of wind may ruffle somebody's hair.

They seem to like it that way, so presumably the operational advantages outway the disruption caused to the travel plans of thousands and thousands of passengers.

Johan
Or is it the airport? If they say they will only allow 50% of the normal number of flights to land, what can KLM do?
Don't exactly know how this works, but Schiphol itself can be rather authorative and the relationship between KLM and the airport is/was not optimal.

They either wait until the day itself to see if the weather is as feared and if so, face numerous delays with stranded passengers or be prudent and rebook them the days ahead to cause less trouble for both passengers and airline.
If the weather/situations was beter then expected, they were too prudent, but I expect them to go to Schiphol with that hindsight and hope next time the airport is a little more giving.
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Old Jan 12, 19, 11:28 am
  #272  
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Originally Posted by EricVdb View Post
Or is it the airport?
Not sure what the airport's role is in these instances. Can they order airlines to cancel flights selectively? How would they fairly distribute the burden?

I checked the stats for AMS-CPH that day. FlightStats won't let me check that far back anymore, but to the best of my recollection KL canceled three return flights on that route and and another was seriously delayed. SK canceled its first flight (which may or may not have been AMS weather related), and ran the rest on schedule. Norwegian's only flight was on schedule. It does not appear as if a 50% flight reduction on that particular route was applied to any airline but KL.

KL operates 70% of flights at AMS, so if they canceled 159, the other airlines would have had to cancel 68 flights between them, had Schiphol restricted them to an equitable share of available slots. No idea how many they did cancel, but I'm sure that information is out there somewhere.

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Old Jan 12, 19, 11:59 am
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Originally Posted by johan rebel View Post
Not sure what the airport's role is in these instances. Can they order airlines to cancel flights selectively? How would they fairly distribute the burden?
No clue how and who controls it, but somebody controls the maximum number of landings allowed in certain conditions.
Less then the optimal number of runways in use and a strong wind must be resulting in a decrease of possible arrivals.

While it might be distributed fairly along all airlines, having a hub might make it more difficult.
While a delayed plane is annoying for an airline operating from CPH, it's only one plane, one crew and a relative low number of passengers.
At KLM there are more delays, more crew and planes unable to operate the next flight, no passengers able to catch their connection and pooling up in the airport, etc. So they preactively rebook passengers, cancel flights and reschedule to create more space in the schedule.

Again, no clue about the details, but I do know having a hub makes a problem just so more complex, at least in a comparable, but non aviation situation.
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Old Jan 12, 19, 3:02 pm
  #274  
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Originally Posted by EricVdb View Post
No clue how and who controls it, but somebody controls the maximum number of landings allowed in certain conditions.
I should imagine that if demand exceeds the available number of slots, then the airport will operate on a first come, first served basis, with flights kept in a holding pattern or at the departure airport, as the case may be.

For a proper answer, we need to ask an ATC expert.

Originally Posted by EricVdb View Post
no passengers able to catch their connection and pooling up in the airport
For a while, can't remember how long ago exactly, KL had policy whereby pax with connecting flights were denied boarding at outstations if things were going haywire at AMS. In one instance a flight from OSL departed with only one passenger on board. He actually had a connection to DUS, but with some effort managed to persuade the gate agents that he would catch a train from Schiphol to his destination instead.

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Old Jan 12, 19, 3:52 pm
  #275  
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Guess what? They've done it again!

The weather forecast for Sunday, January 13th, is very similar to last Tuesday's: northwesterly gales gusting up to 25 m/s.

So far, KL has canceled 82 departures and 84 arrivals, for a grand total of 166 flights.

Easyjet, which I believe is the second largest airline at AMS, has canceled none. Nor have Lufthansa, SAS, Delta, Transavia or Air France. Swiss has canceled a single flight, which could be for whatever reason.

I somehow don't think this is something ATC has imposed on KL!

Edited to add that another search has turned up a total of two canceled non-KL departures: that Swiss one, plus a Vueling flight to BCN.

Johan

Last edited by johan rebel; Jan 12, 19 at 4:02 pm
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Old Jan 12, 19, 5:20 pm
  #276  
 
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It's one of the reasons why I don't fly to or through AMS in the winter months unless I absolutely can't avoid it.

Can't compare of course small airports with big ones - but last month the snow was a meter deep here in Romania at SBZ and I had zero delay - while a family member in the Netherlands had his flight cancelled from LON to AMS because of a few snowflakes at AMS. He opted just to fly to BRU out of his own pocket instead of waiting for KLM's option of booting him to a flight the next day (of course, BRU with similar weather conditions that day had zero such delays or cancelled flights).

I don't know whether it is KLM or just ATC imposing this, but I find it mind boggling that such stuff only seems to happen at AMS. I'd really rather reroute to BRU or DUS instead if needing to visit southern Netherlands - or even hop on a low-cost flight to EIN as it's so much more reliable!
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Old Jan 13, 19, 1:30 am
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As far as I understand, airlines decide which flights to cancel but ATC can and does impose restrictions on number of flights. The airlines seem to protect long haul plus short haul with low frequencies, and cut short haul with high frequency or where it is easier to arrange land transport.
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Old Jan 13, 19, 4:09 am
  #278  
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Originally Posted by RoyalSwazi View Post
As far as I understand, airlines decide which flights to cancel but ATC can and does impose restrictions on number of flights.

But does ATC then impose pro rata restrictions on the airlines serving AMS?

If they do, they why has KL canceled 82 departures, and all the other airlines combined only 2? (the numbers may have changed somewhat since last night, but I'm not about to count again!). With a 30% share of the market, that number should have been closer to 35.

No severe weather in AMS yet. Westerly breeze at 10 m/s, some drizzle, and at 9C it's well above freezing. Of the flights that are operating, only a small number are delayed. Business as usual, in other words, except for the huge number of KL cancelations.

I figure that under these circumstances, KL pax have a valid EU261 claim.

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Old Jan 13, 19, 6:29 am
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A related court case which provides some interesting considerations: https://uitspraken.rechtspraak.nl/in...BNHO:2018:7615
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Old Jan 13, 19, 6:39 am
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The biggest problem in AMS is runway use and capacity. The airport gives out a capacity forecast based on the winds and runway in use. Later this afternoon they expect single runway use. Meaning around 20 take-offs and 20 arrivals per hour. If this happens to be around the time KLM has their waves of arrivals and departures, something has to give. KLM will protect their night stops first. They will look at crew rotations next. They cancel all those flights that can be canceled based on reprotecting pax. The fact that KLM cancels and others do not is that other airlines mostly fly outside of the waves of KLM and do not expect too much arrival delays.
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Old Jan 13, 19, 8:41 am
  #281  
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Originally Posted by johan rebel View Post
Not sure what the airport's role is in these instances. Can they order airlines to cancel flights selectively? How would they fairly distribute the burden?
I cannot point to an authoritative source but, AIUI, when there are flow restrictions, the airport or ATC or whichever joint authority is responsible (as the case may be) directs the airline to cancel x% of its flights due to land and/or take off within a certain time range but leaves it to the airline which specific flights to prioritise. So, the airline could theoretically choose to keep 100% of its flights to a certain destination but cancel all flights to another. When there are restrictions at LHR, for instance, BA tends to cancel proportionately more domestic flights and proportionately fewer long-haul flights.

to the best of my recollection KL canceled three return flights on that route and and another was seriously delayed. SK canceled its first flight (which may or may not have been AMS weather related), and ran the rest on schedule. Norwegian's only flight was on schedule. It does not appear as if a 50% flight reduction on that particular route was applied to any airline but KL.
Not conclusive. it may well be that the same ratio was applied to all airlines but KL allocated them in a certain way that resulted in proportionately more cancellations on a given route. It is also conceivable that there is a "progressive" ratio for cancellations so that, if you only have a small number of flights, you are asked to cancel proportionately fewer of your flights so as to remain able to maintain basic connectivity.
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Old Jan 13, 19, 10:02 am
  #282  
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Originally Posted by MrTL View Post
The biggest problem in AMS is runway use and capacity. The airport gives out a capacity forecast based on the winds and runway in use. Later this afternoon they expect single runway use. Meaning around 20 take-offs and 20 arrivals per hour.
Yeah, it must be really tough with only six runways. Makes you wonder how Gatwick manages with just one.

If AMS, with more runways than any other major airport, cannot get its act together, then there's obviously something wrong.

Poor planning - poor decision making - poor execution - poor passengers!

Anyway, it is now late afternoon, and they are still happily using two runways. Nothing much wrong with the weather either. Westerly wind at 13m/s, gusting to 18 m/s. That's not even gale force.

Originally Posted by MrTL View Post
other airlines mostly fly outside of the waves of KLM
Are you saying that KL gets first pick of slots and all the others get what's left over, or is that by choice?

And . . . do they really mostly fly outside those waves?

This is a totally random sample, but between 12 noon and 1 p.m. today KL scheduled 29 departures (and canceled a lot). I figure that qualifies as a wave. In the same time period, other airlines had 19 departures (of which four were slightly delayed, and none canceled). That gives the others a 40% share during that particular period, which is greater than their overall 30% share.

Originally Posted by NickB View Post
the airport or ATC or whichever joint authority is responsible (as the case may be) directs the airline to cancel x% of its flights due to land.
Originally Posted by MrTL View Post
The fact that KLM cancels and others do not is that other airlines . . . do not expect too much arrival delays.
So which is it? Airlines decided whether to cancel based on their own expectations, or somebody tells them they have to?

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Old Jan 13, 19, 10:23 am
  #283  
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Truth is that we do not know what the process is. If Schiphol requires X percent of flights to be canceled, it does not have to affect all airlines. Who knows, Schiphol may first ask for 'volunteers' - to which KLM may (for whatever reason) reply positively and cancel enough flights to match the full airport capacity reductions. Then no other airlines have to cancel flights.

I can imagine that it is beneficial for KLM to cancel specific flights. During these situations they will generally be able to do so without having to pay compensation. So for any route that has a high(ish) frequency and reasonable overcapacity it would be financially beneficial to cancel at least one flight. Pax can be spread out over later flights (increasing their load numbers) and when the route is popular enough most pax will still reach their destination the same day. This tactic could potentially save KLM a flight on every popular route - which could easily save them tens of thousands per flight rotation..
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Old Jan 13, 19, 10:27 am
  #284  
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Originally Posted by KLflyerRalph View Post
A related court case which provides some interesting considerations: https://uitspraken.rechtspraak.nl/in...BNHO:2018:7615
Well, that cost KLC substantially more than if they had just paid up in the first place.

In the case you refer to, the weather at AMS was undisputably bad in the morning. Even then the court ruled that KLC had not been able to prove that they had no choice but to cancel the afternoon flight for which the claimants had been denied compensation.

KL's preemptive mass cancelations, on the other hand, are based on an expectation of bad weather. If the weather then turns out just fine, I doubt whether "we thought it would be bad, but we were wrong, it wasn't" constitutes a valid extraordinary circumstances defense.

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Old Jan 13, 19, 10:54 am
  #285  
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Originally Posted by Xandrios View Post
I can imagine that it is beneficial for KLM to cancel specific flights. During these situations they will generally be able to do so without having to pay compensation. So for any route that has a high(ish) frequency and reasonable overcapacity it would be financially beneficial to cancel at least one flight. Pax can be spread out over later flights (increasing their load numbers) and when the route is popular enough most pax will still reach their destination the same day. This tactic could potentially save KLM a flight on every popular route - which could easily save them tens of thousands per flight rotation..
I follow your reasoning, and you have a valid point, but there are a couple of "ifs":

- the majority of KL's pax transfer at Schiphol, which complicates the issue. Canceling a flight may not prove to be that big of a money saver if many pax miss their connections.

- How many KL routes have a high frequency and reasonable overcapacity? KL is pretty good at yield management, average load factors are consistently around 90%. Canceling one flight on a busyroute might work, perhaps even two, but on e.g. AMS-CPH (a route I keep a beady eye on for some reason) they canceled four out of seven today. Of the remaining three flights, the first was operated by HV. The canceled flights included the late morning and the early afternoon ones, leaving a 7 hour gap between flights on the route. Surely lots of pax missed their longhaul connections at AMS, unless KL went to the expense of rebooking them on SAS or Norwegian to AMS, or on other airlines directly to the final destination.

- what's beneficial for KL is not necessarily good for it for its passengers. Even if most pax still reach the airport KL is flying them to the same day, it does not follow that they will reach their destination the same day. Under any circumstances they will arrive later than intended and expected.

Johan

Last edited by johan rebel; Jan 13, 19 at 10:59 am
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