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Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport

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Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport

"Schiphol" redirects here. For the railway station, see Schiphol railway station.

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
Luchthaven Schiphol
Airport type Public
Owner Schiphol Group
Operator Schiphol Group
Serves Amsterdam, Netherlands
Location Haarlemmermeer
Hub for
Elevation AMSL -11 ft / −3 m
Coordinates 52°18′29″N 004°45′51″E / 52.30806°N 4.76417°E / 52.30806; 4.76417Coordinates: 52°18′29″N 004°45′51″E / 52.30806°N 4.76417°E / 52.30806; 4.76417

Location within Greater Amsterdam
Direction Length Surface
m ft
18R/36L 3,800 12,467 Asphalt
06/24 3,500 11,483 Asphalt
09/27 3,400 11,155 Asphalt
18L/36R 3,400 11,155 Asphalt
18C/36C 3,300 10,827 Asphalt
04/22 2,014 6,608 Asphalt
Statistics (2012)
Passengers Increase51,035,590
Freight (tonnes) Increase1,483,448
Aircraft movements Increase423,407
Economic & social impact $27.3 billion[2]
Sources: Schiphol Group[3] and AIP[4]

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (Dutch: Luchthaven Schiphol, Dutch pronunciation: [ˈlʏxtˌɦaːvə(n) ˈsxɪpɦɔl]) (IATA: AMSICAO: EHAM) is the main international airport of the Netherlands, located 20 minutes (4.9 NM (9.1 km; 5.6 mi)[4]) southwest of Amsterdam, in the municipality of Haarlemmermeer. The airport's official English name, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, reflects the original Dutch word order (Luchthaven Schiphol). The airport used to have the IATA code of SPL, which has fallen into disuse and has been replaced by AMS.

The airport is the primary hub for KLM as well as for Arkefly, Corendon Dutch Airlines, Martinair and Transavia. The airport also serves as a European hub for Delta Air Lines and as a base for Vueling. Schiphol is considered to be an airport city. The airport occupies an area of 13 square kilometres (3,200 acres).


Schiphol is an important European airport, ranking as Europe’s 4th busiest and the world's 16th busiest by total passenger traffic in 2012 (14th in 2011). It also ranks as the world’s 5th busiest by international passenger traffic and the world’s 17th largest for cargo tonnage.

51 million passengers passed through the airport in 2012, a 3% increase compared with 2010.[3]

Schiphol's main competitors in terms of passenger traffic and cargo throughput are London Heathrow Airport, Frankfurt Airport, Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport and Madrid-Barajas Airport.

In 2010, 65.9% of passengers using the airport flew to and from Europe, 11.7% to and from North America and 8.8% to and from Asia; cargo volume was mainly between Schiphol and Asia (45%) and North America (17%).[5]

In 2010, 106 carriers provided a total of 301 destinations on a regular basis. Passenger destinations were offered by 91 airlines. Direct (non-stop) destinations grew by 9 to 274. Regular destinations serviced exclusively by full freighters (non-passenger) grew with 8 to a total of 27.[6]

Schiphol has six runways, one of which is used mainly by general aviation aircraft. The northern end of the Polderbaan, the name of the last runway to be constructed, is 7 km (4.3 mi) north of the control tower, causing lengthy taxi times (up to 20 min) to the terminal.[7] Plans have been made for a seventh runway.

The airport is built as one large terminal (single terminal concept), split into three large departure halls, which converge again once airside. The most recent of these was completed in 1994, and expanded in 2007 with a new part, named Terminal 4, although this part is not recognised as a separate building. Plans for further terminal expansion exist, including the construction of a separate new terminal between the Zwanenburgbaan and Polderbaan runways that would end the one-terminal concept.

Because of intense traffic and high landing fees, some low cost carriers decided to move their flights to smaller airports, such as Rotterdam The Hague Airport and Eindhoven Airport. Many low cost carriers like EasyJet continue to operate from Schiphol, using the low-cost H-pier.

Schiphol is the home base of Arkefly, Corendon Dutch Airlines, KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines), Martinair and Transavia. Schiphol was the home base of Amsterdam Airlines, which ceased operations on 31 October 2011

The Schiphol Air traffic control tower, with a height of 101 m (331 ft), was the tallest in the world when constructed in 1991. Schiphol is geographically one of the world's lowest major commercial airports. The entire airport is below sea level; the lowest point sits at 11 ft (3.4 m) below sea level (or 4.5 ft (1.4 m) below the Dutch Normaal Amsterdams Peil (NAP)); the runways are around 3 m (9.8 ft) below NAP.[8][9]

Schiphol is equipped with 18 double jetway gates in preparation for airlines introducing the Airbus A380. Emirates was the first airline to fly the A380 to Schiphol in August 2012, deploying the aircraft on its daily Dubai-Amsterdam service.[10]


Schiphol has large shopping areas as a source of revenue and as an additional attraction for passengers. Schiphol Plaza is the shopping centre before customs, hence it is used by air travelers and non-traveling visitors.

The Rijksmuseum operates an annex at the airport, offering a small overview of both classical and contemporary art.[11] Admission to the exhibits is free.

In summer 2010, the world's first permanent airport library opened alongside the museum, providing passengers access to a collection of 1,200 books (translated into 29 languages) by Dutch authors or on subjects relating to the country’s history and culture. The 968 sq ft (89.9 m2) library offers e-books and music by Dutch artists and composers that can be downloaded free of charge to a laptop or mobile device.[12]

Schiphol has its own mortuary, where the dead can be handled and kept before departure or after arrival. Since October 2006, people can also hold a wedding ceremony at Schiphol.[13]

For aviation enthusiasts, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has a large rooftop viewing area, called the Panoramaterras. It is not accessible to connecting passengers unless they first exit the airport. Enthusiasts and the public can enter, free of charge, from the airport's landside. Since June 2011, it is the location for a KLM Cityhopper Fokker 100, modified to be a viewing exhibit.[14] Besides the Panoramaterras, Schiphol has other spotting sites, especially along the newest Polderbaan runway and at the McDonald's restaurant at the north side of the airport.

In 1967, Dutch designer Benno Wissing created a signage for Schiphol Airport renowned for its lucid typography and rigorous color-coding; to avoid confusion, he banned any other signage in his chosen shades of yellow and green.[15] A new wayfinding signage at Schiphol was designed in 1991 by Paul Mijksenaar.[16]


Schiphol opened on 16 September 1916 as a military airbase, with a few barracks and a field serving as platform and runways. When civil aircraft started to use the field (17 December 1920) it was often called Schiphol-les-bains. The Fokker aircraft manufacturer started a factory near Schiphol airport in 1919.[17]

By 1940, Schiphol had four asphalt runways at 45-degree angles, all 1020 meters or less. One was extended to become today's runway 4/22; two others crossed that runway at 52°18′43″N 4°48′00″E / 52.312°N 4.800°E / 52.312; 4.800.

Schiphol's name is derived from a former fortification named Fort Schiphol which was part of the Stelling van Amsterdam defence works.[18] Before 1852, the Haarlemmermeer polder in which the airport lies was a large lake, in the shallow waters of which sudden violent storms could claim many ships. This was the main reason for reclaiming it. In English, Schiphol translates to 'Ship Grave', a reference to many ships lost in the area.



Schiphol uses a one terminal concept, where all facilities are located under a single roof, radiating from the central 'plaza'. The areas, though, are divided into three sections or halls designated 1, 2 and 3. To all of these halls, piers or concourses are connected. However, it is possible, on both sides of security or border inspection, to walk from one pier to another, even those connected to different halls. The exception to this is the low-cost pier M: once airside (i.e. past security), passengers cannot access any other halls or piers. Border control separates Schengen from non-Schengen Areas. Schiphol Airport has approximately 165 boarding gates available.

Departure Hall 1
  • Consists of Piers B and C – both of which are dedicated Schengen areas. Pier B has 14 gates, while Pier C has 21 gates.
    • In 2016 the new Pier A will be in operation; this Pier A will have 8 gates.[19]
Departure Hall 2
  • Consists of Piers D and E.
    • Pier D is the largest pier and has two levels. The lower floor houses non-Schengen flights, the upper floor is used for Schengen flights. By using stairs, the same jetways are used to access the aircraft. Schengen gates are numbered beginning with D-59, non-Schengen gates are numbered from D-1 to D-57.
    • Pier E is a dedicated non-Schengen area and has 14 gates. It is home to SkyTeam hubs Delta Air Lines and KLM, along with other members, such as China Airlines and China Southern Airlines. Other Middle Eastern and Asian airlines such as EVA Air, Etihad Airways, Iran Air, Air Astana, and Malaysia Airlines operate out of Pier E.
Departure Hall 3
  • Consists of F, G, H and M. Pier F has 8 gates and is dominated by SkyTeam members such as Schiphol-leading airline KLM, Kenya Airways, and other members, such as China Airlines and China Southern Airlines. Pier G has 13 gates and is the only terminal that handles daily Airbus A380 service, by Emirates. Piers H and M have 7 gates each and are home to low-cost airlines.
    • Piers F, G and H are non-Schengen areas.
    • Piers M is a dedicated Schengen area.
    • Piers H and M are the low-cost piers.

Note: The airlines and destinations listed are not definite since very few airlines have a dedicated pier or gates; the piers listed below are based on regularity.

Airlines and destinations





Other users

Traffic volume

Busiest European Routes from Amsterdam Airport (2012) [20]
Rank City Passengers Top Carriers
1 London (Heathrow), United Kingdom 1,429,378 British Airways, KLM, KLM Cityhopper
2 Barcelona, Spain 1,250,144 KLM,, Vueling
3 Paris (Charles de Gaulle), France 1,124,252 Air France, KLM
4 Madrid, Spain 1,030,188 Air Europa, KLM
5 Rome (Fiumicino), Italy 929,195 Alitalia, easyJet, KLM
6 Copenhagen, Denmark 822,723 KLM, KLM Cityhopper, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Scandinavian Airlines
7 Frankfurt, Germany 706,106 KLM, KLM Cityhopper, Lufthansa
8 Munich, Germany 689,499 KLM, KLM Cityhopper, Lufthansa Regional
9 London (Gatwick), United Kingdom 678,519 British Airways, easyJet
10 Zürich, Switzerland 677,497 KLM, KLM Cityhopper, Swiss International Air Lines
11 Manchester, United Kingdom 674,228 easyJet, KLM, KLM Cityhopper
12 Stockholm (Arlanda), Sweden 630,012 KLM, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Scandinavian Airlines
13 Geneva, Switzerland 617,019 easyJet Switzerland, KLM, KLM Cityhopper
14 Oslo (Gardermoen), Norway 612,418 KLM, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Scandinavian Airlines
15 Lisbon, Portugal 587,060 KLM, TAP Portugal,
16 Edinburgh, United Kingdom 566,347 easyJet, KLM,
17 Vienna, Austria 503,767 Austrian Airlines, KLM, KLM Cityhopper
18 Milan (Linate), Italy 485,016 KLM
Busiest Intercontinental Routes from Amsterdam Airport (2012)
Rank City Passengers Top Carriers
1 Antalya, Turkey 701,310 Arkefly, Corendon Airlines, Corendon Dutch Airlines, Pegasus, Sky Airlines, SunExpress,
2 Detroit, United States 631,350 Delta
3 Istanbul (Atatürk), Turkey 611,914 Corendon, KLM, Turkish Airlines
4 New York (JFK), United States 585,620 Delta, KLM
5 Dubai, United Arab Emirates 551,891 Arkefly, Emirates, KLM,
6 Atlanta, United States 526,032 Delta, KLM
7 Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi), Thailand 440,799 China Airlines, EVA Air, KLM
8 Minneapolis/Saint Paul, United States 438,910 Delta
9 Nairobi, Kenya 414,409 Kenya Airways, KLM
10 Hong Kong, Hong Kong 396,097 Cathay Pacific, KLM
11 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 390,519 KLM, Malaysia Airlines
12 Toronto, Canada 390,505 Air Transat, Arkefly, KLM
13 Curaçao, Curaçao 388,041 Arkefly, KLM
14 Singapore, Singapore 331,542 KLM, Singapore Airlines
15 Tel Aviv, Israel 321,252 Arkia Israel Airlines, El Al, Israir, KLM
16 Shanghai (Pudong), China 320,866 KLM
17 Houston, United States 304,371 KLM, United Airlines
18 Washington (Dulles), United States 268,882 KLM, United Airlines
19 Tokyo (Narita), Japan 262,767 KLM
20 Chicago (O'Hare), United States 260,745 KLM, United Airlines


Number Runway direction/code Length
(in metres and feet)
Runway common name source of the name Surface Notes
1 18R/36L 3,800 m
12,467 ft
Polderbaan decided via contest. 'Polder' is the Dutch word for land reclaimed from a body of water. Schiphol Airport is situated in a polder. Asphalt newest runway, opened 2003
Located to reduce the noise impact on the surrounding population; aircraft have a lengthy 15 minute taxi to and from the Terminal. The intended landing runway for Turkish Airlines Flight 1951, which crashed in a field just short of the runway.
2 06/24 3,500 m
11,483 ft
Kaagbaan named after the Kagerplassen which lies at the end of the runway Asphalt De Kaagbaan offered a nice location for spotters until the spotting-location was closed in January 2008[21]
3 09/27 3,453 m
11,329 ft
Buitenveldertbaan named after Buitenveldert, a part of Amsterdam Asphalt El Al Flight 1862 was trying to land at this runway when it crashed into a block of flats in the Bijlmermeer.[22]
4 18L/36R 3,400 m
11,155 ft
Aalsmeerbaan named after Aalsmeer Asphalt -
5 18C/36C 3,300 m
10,826 ft
Zwanenburgbaan named after village Zwanenburg Asphalt El Al Flight 1862 took off from this runway before crashing into flats in the Bijlmermeer when the plane was trying to return to the airport[22]
6 04/22 2,014 m
6,608 ft
Oostbaan most Eastern (Oost) of all runways Asphalt In October 2010 a B-737 of Corendon Airlines overshot this short runway and ended up with its nosegear in the mud[23]

Other facilities

TransPort Building on the Schiphol Airport property houses the head offices of Martinair and[24] Construction on the building, which has 10,800 m2 (116,000 sq ft) of lettable space, began on 17 March 2009. Schiphol Group and the architect firm Paul de Ruiter designed the building, while De Vries and Verburg, a firm of Stolwijk, constructed the building.[25]

World Trade Center Schiphol Airport houses the head office of SkyTeam,[26][27] the Netherlands office of China Southern Airlines,[28] and the Netherlands offices of Iran Air.[29] The head office of Schiphol Group, the airport's operator, is located on the airport property.[30] The Convair Building, with its development beginning after a parcel was earmarked for its development in 1999, houses KLM offices,[31] including KLM Recruitment Services and the head office of KLM Cityhopper.[32][33] The original control tower of Schiphol Airport, which the airport authorities had moved slightly from its original location, now houses a restaurant.[31] The area Schiphol-Rijk includes the head offices of Arkefly and Amsterdam Airlines.[34][35]

At one time KLM had its head office on the grounds of Schiphol Airport.[36] Its current head office in Amstelveen had a scheduled completion at the end of 1970.[37] Previously Martinair had its head office in the Schiphol Center (Dutch: Schiphol Centrum) at Schiphol Airport.[38][39] Previously the head office of was in the Building Triport III at Schiphol Airport.[40][41][42] NLM Cityhopper and later KLM Cityhopper previously had their head offices in Schiphol Airport building 70.[43][43]

Nippon Cargo Airlines has its Europe regional headquarters at Schiphol.[44] The National Aerospace Museum Aviodome-Schiphol was previously located at Schiphol.[45] In 2003 the museum moved to Lelystad Airport and was renamed the "Aviodrome."[46]

Ground transport


The Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS), the national Dutch train operator, has a major passenger railway station directly underneath the passenger terminal complex and offers transportation into Amsterdam, Utrecht, The Hague, Rotterdam and many other cities.[47] There are intercity connections to Amsterdam Centraal, Utrecht Centraal, both The Hague Centraal and The Hague HS, Rotterdam Centraal, Eindhoven, Groningen, Enschede and Heerlen. Schiphol is also a stop for the international high-speed train Thalys, connecting the airport with a direct train connection to Antwerp, Brussels and Paris.


Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is also easily accessible by bus, as many services call or terminate at the 9292.

Destination Service(s) Notes
Aalsmeer 198
Alphen aan den Rijn 370
Amstelveen 186, 199, 300, night bus N30
Amsterdam, Leidseplein 197, night bus N97 Leidseplein is the closest destination to Amsterdam's city centre that is served by bus from Schiphol.
Amsterdam, Osdorp 69, 192
Amsterdam, Slotervaart 69, 195
Amsterdam, Amsterdam-Zuid and Buitenveldert 310
Haarlem 300, night bus N30
Hoofddorp 300, 310, night bus N30
Keukenhof Gardens 58 (seasonal)
Lisse 361
Leimuiden 370
Ouderkerk aan de Amstel 300, night bus N30
Noordwijk 361 through Sassenheim
Vijfhuizen 300, night bus N30


Schiphol Airport can easily be reached by car via the motorways A4 and A9. Schiphol offers several car parking facilities,[49] which can range from short term parking,[50] to valet parking [51] and other parking offers.

Accidents and incidents

  • 14 November 1946, a Douglas C-47 operated by KLM from London approached Schiphol during bad weather conditions. The first two attempts to land failed. During the third attempt, the pilot realized that the airplane was not lined up properly with the runway. A sharp left turn was made at low speed, causing the left wing to hit the ground. The airplane crashed and caught fire, killing all 26 people on board, including the plane's crew of five.
  • 4 October 1992, El Al Flight 1862, a Boeing 747 cargo airplane heading to Tel Aviv, suffered physical engine separation of both right-wing engines (#3 and #4) just after taking off from Schiphol and crashed into an apartment building in the Bijlmer neighbourhood of Amsterdam while attempting to return to the airport. A total of 43 people were killed, including the plane's crew of three and a "non revenue passenger". Several others were injured.
  • 4 April 1994, Flight KL433 to Cardiff, a Saab 340 operated by KLM Cityhopper, returned to Schiphol after setting the number two engine to flight idle because the crew mistakenly believed that the engine suffered from low oil pressure because of a faulty warning light. On final approach at a height of 90 ft (27 m), the captain decided to go-around and gave full throttle on only the number one engine leaving the other in flight idle. The airplane rolled to the right, pitched up, stalled and hit the ground at 80 degrees bank. Of the twenty-four people on board, three were killed including the captain. Nine others were seriously injured.
  • 25 February 2005, a diamond robbery occurred at Schiphol's cargo terminal, the robbers using a stolen KLM van to gain airside access. The estimated value of the stones was around 75 million euros, making it the largest diamond robbery ever recorded.[52]
  • 27 October 2005, a fire broke out at the airport's detention centre, killing 11 people and injuring 15. The complex was holding 350 people at the time of the incident. Results from the investigation almost one year later showed that fire safety precautions were not in force. A national outrage resulted in the resignation of Justice Minister Donner (CDA) and Mayor Hartog of Haarlemmermeer. Spatial Planning Minister Dekker (VVD) resigned as well, because she bore responsibility for the construction, safety, and maintenance of state-owned buildings.
  • 25 February 2009, Turkish Airlines Flight 1951, a Boeing 737–800 from Istanbul crashed on approach, just 1 km (0.6 mi) short of the airport's Polderbaan runway. The plane carried 128 passengers and 7 crew on board. 9 people were killed and a further 86 were injured, including six with serious injuries. An initial report from the Dutch Safety Board revealed that the left radio altimeter had failed to provide the correct height above the ground and suddenly reported −8 ft (−2.4 m). As a result of this the autothrottle system closed the thrust levers to idle, as it is programmed to reduce thrust when below 27 ft (8.2 m) radio altitude. This eventually resulted in a dropping airspeed which was not acted upon until it was too late to recover and the aircraft stalled and crashed in a field.
  • 2 March 2010, a Corendon Airlines pilot, of Swedish origin, was arrested at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol after flying commercial jets for 13 years without a licence. He was due to fly a Boeing 737–400 to Ankara, Turkey with 101 passengers on board when the Dutch police arrested him.[53][54] A back-up pilot was standing by to fly the jet to its destination. It is reported that he had clocked up to 10,000 hours flying passenger jets for various European airlines and 2 years with Corendon Airlines before the tip off from Swedish authorities. The licence he held was to fly light aircraft, but that licence expired 13 years before the incident.[55]



  • Heuvel, Coen van den. Schiphol, een Wereldluchthaven in Beeld, Holkema & Warendorf, 1992, 978-9-0269-6271-4

External links

Amsterdam portal
Netherlands portal
Aviation portal
  • Amsterdam Airport information
  • Fire Brigade Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
  • Schiphol Mortuary (Dutch only)
  • Aviation Safety Network
  • Google Maps
  • Amsterdam Airport Rail information
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