The rise of Schiphol Airport
With over 60 million passengers a year, Schiphol airport is one of Europe’s leading airports. Only Heathrow Airport in London and Charles de Gaulle in Paris transported more passengers in 2016. However, there seems to be some problems surrounding Schiphol’s policy. Last April there was a huge chaos, partly due to the start of the May holidays. Dozens of people missed their flights and there were long queues everywhere. There is a big social debate whether Schiphol can expand or not. First look at the video about the growth of Schiphol airport in the last 100 years.
As seen above, Schiphol has grown into a huge airport in the past 100 years. However, it does not seem to be enough for the demand at all. Every year, more and more visitors are coming to Schiphol, and the number of flights that depart and arrive annually rises even harder. Schiphol itself had expected that they would not reach 500,000 annual flights by 2020, but the truth is that this number of flights almost has been reached in 2016.
Schiphol seems to have thought about some solutions, but most of them seem to be too late to be relevant. For example, an additional departure hall should be used, but it should only be used temporarily. If the number of passengers at Schiphol grows just as in recent years, this is not a temporary but a permanent solution. There were also plans to use Lelystad Airport to take over some flights from Schiphol, but also this solution seems to be late. The first flights were scheduled in 2018, but no flights can depart from Lelystad until 2019.
Due to these problems, many parties are not happy with Schiphol’s policy. Almost all airlines are facing major damage due to the actions of Schiphol. KLM, the largest airline that uses this airport, indicates that in the first quarter a huge loss has been suffered, partly responsible by Schiphol. The other airlines are angry because KLM would be in favour because they are the biggest user of flights. Every airline wants to grow, but when the ceiling of 500,000 annual flights is reached, that will be very difficult. If KLM continues to grow, other companies can hardly grow anymore.
Now it is also not only a matter of economic growth, but there is also a sense of social responsibility. Residents of Schiphol have been complaining about noise pollution for years and environmental organizations are warning for the environment around Schiphol. They argue that the air around Schiphol will be even more polluted if Schiphol is expanding, perhaps at risk to humans. Therefore they come with a different solution than expansion; Logistics at Schiphol could be much better organised. They conclude that other major airports need far less runways to receive and leave the same number of flights on a yearly basis, so Schiphol should invest in that.
There will be a long discussion about whether Schiphol should expand, for several reasons. But does economic growth outweigh the social interests it brings with it?