Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is an important international airport serving the Netherlands, Europe. It was voted as the European region’s best airport and the world’s fourth best airport by the Business Traveller Awards.
It is located around 15km from the centre of Amsterdam. It was first opened as a military airbase in 1916. Civil operations started from the airport in 1920.
The airport is the sixth busiest airport in terms international passenger traffic. In 2012 the airport welcomed its one billionth passenger. It served 49.75 million passengers and recorded 420,249 aircraft movements during 2011, which marked a 10.2% increase in passenger traffic over 2010 levels. It handled 1.5 million tons of cargo during the same year.
The airport has one large terminal which accommodates all facilities under one roof. This terminal building has three levels.
The ground level is used for arrivals. It is connected to parking lot P1 by means of a tunnel. A new baggage claim hall was recently constructed on this level. Other facilities at this level include information desks, bars and restaurants, a supermarket and baggage storage and locker facilities.
The first level is used for departures. It has four departure lounges and eight departure gate facilities, designated B-C, D, E, F, G-H and M. It also has bars and restaurants and a children’s corner. The top level of the terminal building has first aid centres along with passenger amenities. The terminal has four concourses.
A new General Aviation terminal for small aircraft and private business jets was opened in 2012. This terminal has a surface area of 6,000 square metres, including 1,000 square metres of the terminal and lounges, 4,000 square metres of office space and 1,000 square metres of parking places.
Accenture was awarded a contract in July 2011 to design and deliver an automated border control system which helps in speeding the immigration process at the airport. The new system uses latest biometric and facial recognition technology available.
Accenture will work in association with Vision Box and Capgemini. Initially, 36 of these systems will be delivered.
A new and innovative south baggage hall was opened at the airport in March 2012. The new baggage hall is the first in the world to integrate innovative applications. It was built at a cost of $1.17bn.
The baggage handling process was made more efficient by the introduction of the ‘baggage on demand’ concept, in which up to 4,200 bags can be stored using fully automated baggage buffers. The baggage is loaded into containers and carts by six robots. The integrated robot system was designed by Grenzebach Automation. The pre-installed advanced ICT system scans every object in the baggage. This system is designed to handle 70 million bags per annum. It was designed by Vanderlande Industries and IBM.
European Investment Bank provided $457m loan to the airport for upgrading and expanding the baggage handling facility.
The airport has six runways, which include 18R/36L (Polderbaan), 06/24 (Kaagbaan), 09/27 (Buitenveldertbaan), 18L/36R (Aalsmeerbaan), 18C/36C (Zwanenburgbaan), 04/22 (Schiphol-Oostbaan). The newest of them is 18R/36L (Polderbaan), which opened in 2003.
Runway 04/22 (Schiphol-Oostbaan) is the shortest of all, with a length of 2,015m.
Many transportation options are available for passengers travelling to the airport. A direct rail link connects to the airport with frequent trains from Amsterdam.
The railway station is underneath the passenger terminal, providing an easy and reliable access for the passengers. The Thalys high-speed train also stops at the airport.
Additionally, many direct bus facilities are available to the airport. Highways A4 and A9 provide road connectivity to the airport. In 2012 the airport launched the Schiphol Business Taxi Service for the convenience of business travellers.
Hilton Worldwide and Schiphol Group signed an agreement to construct a new hotel, with 443 luxury rooms, at the airport site. The construction is scheduled to start in 2012 and is expected to be completed by 2015.
The airport, in association with XD theatre, has established a virtual 3D ride adventure with sound, wind and lighting effects for the entertainment of their passengers. It is the first such facility among any airport worldwide.
An airport park, another unique feature and again the first of its kind globally, was opened at the airport in May 2011. It combines the waiting area with a park theme for the enjoyment of travellers.
The airport has also installed SITA airport hub wireless infrastructure at the terminal to provide Wi-Fi services for its passengers.
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