Message from the CEO: Schiphol is
always ready,
but never complete

Schiphol is a major hub airport. We welcomed 71 million travellers in 2018 and connected them to 327 destinations worldwide. For us, our overarching goal every day is ‘Connecting the Netherlands’ - that means enabling a safe, seamless, enjoyable and sustainable Schiphol experience for every single traveller.

We are shaping the Schiphol of tomorrow based on three principles: quality of life, quality of network and quality of service.

Our performance in 2018

2018 was an exciting and challenging year for us. We met with several challenges, including the aftermath of April’s power outage, our busiest holiday season ever, and discussions about the future of our airports and Dutch aviation in general. Those are just a handful of the topics that kept everyone at Royal Schiphol Group on their toes during the year.

We worked hard at enabling travellers to make their own ‘Schiphol journeys’, and for operations to continue as seamlessly as possible every day. Over 79 million people chose to travel through our airports in 2018 - representing growth of 4.3% - and we expect to welcome even more travellers this year.

We reached 499,444 air transport movements at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, which is almost the same number as in 2017. Our inbound punctuality rate improved. Cargo volumes decreased by 2.5% to 1.7 million tonnes: there was a decrease in the number of full freighter movements, counterbalanced by growth in cargo volumes in the belly of passenger flights, along with fuller and larger aircraft. Overall, it is clear that we need to devote attention to the development of the cargo sector.

Schiphol’s total number of direct destinations remained more or less consistent with the previous year. Several new locations were added by airlines, including Orlando International, Alghero, Beirut, Eilat, Fortaleza, Mombasa and Växjö. At the same time, we bid farewell to a number of destinations, which included Almaty, Cali and Puerto Plata.

Safety first

Safety is our highest priority in everything we do. It is important to us that air travel remains the world’s safest means of transport. For safety to thrive, we need an open culture that enables people to confidently report any safety deviations and swiftly implement improvements, and where all parties working in aviation remain committed to the highest possible safety standards.

We took a number of important safety steps in 2018. The Integral Safety Management System (ISMS) was launched in collaboration with Air Traffic Control the Netherlands, airlines, ground handlers and refuelling services. Interested parties can consult the Schiphol Safety Improvement Roadmap to see the measures that were taken to improve overall industry safety standards and reduce risk even further. The studies and measures arising from the Roadmap were a result of new and existing sector initiatives. Those initiatives originated in the recommendations from the Dutch Safety Board (OVV), and measures proposed by the Netherlands Aerospace Centre (NLR).

National and international cooperation

Royal Schiphol Group is more than just Amsterdam Airport Schiphol; it is part of a network of airports that also includes the airports of Eindhoven, Rotterdam and Lelystad. The Dutch aviation industry must also develop as an entire system, including Groningen Airport Eelde and Maastricht Aachen Airport. We remain connected all over the world through our international participations at airports such as Groupe ADP (Aéroports de Paris), Brisbane Airport and JFK International Airport New York, where we are able to exchange knowledge and ideas to our mutual benefit.

To us, quality is expressed in three forms: quality of life, quality of the network and quality of service.

Quality of life 

Schiphol will invest in its relationships with its neighbours. That collaboration between Schiphol, the aviation sector and the residents is already under way.

We will take measures in the interests of residents. We need to break down barriers and build bridges between experience and the calculation of noise, for example, and between measurement and calculation. We will cooperate with our neighbouring municipalities to actively limit disturbance and invest in liveability.

The most sustainable airport

We have marked our spot on the horizon by stating that Schiphol will be the most sustainable hub airport in the world. Along with the industry, we are committed to promoting cleaner and quieter aircraft, new and sustainable fuels, and better flight routes and procedures. The new airport charges at Schiphol include a financial incentive aimed at encouraging airlines to use cleaner and quieter aircraft.

We saw the airlines’ investments in new aircraft in 2018, such as the Airbus A320neo, the Boeing 737-800 MAX, the Airbus A350 and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, all of which are considerable upgrades in terms of environmental performance.

In October 2018, Schiphol and the Dutch aviation sector presented the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management with an action plan to increase sustainability in the aviation industry. Twenty transport organisations and knowledge institutions joined forces to accelerate existing developments that will make aviation greener. Our aim is a 35% reduction in CO2 emissions from Dutch civil aviation originating in the Netherlands by 2030, to bring them in line with 2005 levels.

Quality of network

Schiphol is well connected with the rest of the world, and in 2018 we were Europe's second-best airport in terms of direct connections. The Netherlands is now connected to more than half of the economic centres worldwide (52%) and more than three-quarters of Europe’s economic centres (77%).

All airlines contribute to Schiphol and our regional airports’ networks. We have a bigger market share of intercontinental and European transfers in comparison to countries of a similar size, given the fact that Schiphol is a hub. Discussions are ongoing regarding the development of Schiphol after 2020. Political decision-making is expected in 2019. This includes the opening of Lelystad Airport in 2020 in relation to Schiphol.

Quality of service

Schiphol is known worldwide as a quality airport. In the coming years, we will invest around two billion euros in facilities, including smarter and more innovative processes.

A metamorphosis began at Departure Hall 1 in 2018. During the day it was business as usual, but towards the end of the year, the mezzanine began to take shape at night. Pier A’s first contours have become visible, and we are working hard on the design of the new terminal. We will make decisions about the railway station and land-based accessibility investments this year. Innovations like the digital information solutions, Seamless Flow and the new CT scans in the security filters are already improving traveller flows and are highly valued by travellers.

All of this takes place in collaboration with our partners: the airlines, handling agents, contractors, business partners and government organisations. Schiphol’s excellent public-private partnerships are a huge strength.

Our motto behind making all of these investments, while keeping operations running, is: Schiphol is always ready, but never complete.

Multimodal hub

Schiphol is a multimodal hub where all forms of transport come together. It is important to deploy international train services and other sustainable means of transport over short distances. The Netherlands has a customer-centric, fast and sustainable transport system. On some routes, trains are a good alternative to air travel on distances of up to 700 kilometres. The success of Eurostar and Thalys proves that it is both possible and better for the environment.

Train travel can become an even more attractive option - by introducing faster trains with better connections to Schiphol, and by increasing the ease with which travellers can buy integrated AirRail tickets. The extension of Amsterdam’s North-South Metro line above ground is another interesting option to further develop Schiphol as a multimodal hub. This development would create space for international trains in the Schiphol Tunnel. Furthermore, there are other sustainable alternatives to trains that can be further developed for routes with smaller traveller volumes.

Our focus for 2019

2019 will be an important year. We will deliver on the Schiphol Safety Improvement Roadmap, realise important capacity projects, improve and innovate the passenger journey and launch a new series of sustainability initiatives. The Schiphol team will do this in collaboration with all our partners, both private and public, and in dialogue with our neighbours.

Dick Benschop
President & CEO of Royal Schiphol Group

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