KLM cuts flights due to Covid absenteeism; Rotterdam Metro Limited

Airline KLM will “proactively” cancel flights between February 7 and March 13 due to high absenteeism among staff caused by coronavirus infections and quarantine obligations. Fewer metro trains will run in the Rotterdam area from Monday. Carrier RET is switching to an adjusted schedule due to rising Covid-19 infections among its metro drivers.

By flying less often, KLM hopes to ease the pressure on cabin crew who can come to work. “We understand, of course, that passengers may suffer from this exceptional situation, and we find it very annoying,” said a KLM spokesperson. The VNC cabin crew union notes on its website that “absenteeism due to illness is at an all-time high”.

KLM cannot yet say how many flights will ultimately be cancelled. It is also unclear which destination the airline will fly less of. That remains to be determined.

According to a RET spokesperson, the total absence of coronavirus among metro staff is high. Buses and trams will continue to run according to the regular schedule. It’s unclear how long the adjusted timeline will apply, the spokesperson said. “We continue to monitor the situation. If the infections go down, it will take a week for everything to return to the normal schedule.”

Metros will run less frequently on all lines on weekdays during the day and on Saturdays. For example, the metro runs every 5 minutes between Rotterdam Central and Slinge or between Schiedam Central and Capelse Brug, instead of every 3-4 minutes. There is also more time between metros on other lines. Between Slinge and Pijnacker Zuid, the RET will maintain peak hours.

Absenteeism due to coronavirus infections or quarantine is a growing problem for employers. Supermarkets warned this week that shift holes are getting so big that shelves could start to empty. The industry therefore wants even more relaxed quarantine rules for people in crucial professions, such as supermarket workers.

The government has already relaxed the quarantine rules. As of last week, people who were fully vaccinated and received their booster at least a week ago do not have to self-quarantine after contact with an infected person, provided they do not present themselves- same no symptoms of coronavirus. The same goes for people who have recovered from Covid-19 in the past eight weeks. In this way, the Cabinet hopes to relieve the pressure of absenteeism on certain sectors. Soon there will also be new advice on quarantine rules in certain crucial professions.

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