Amsterdam Schiphol's Expansion: The Solution

Updated: Sep 2, 2019

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, the third busiest airport in Europe is extremely important for the Dutch economy. The airport provides 67 000 people a daily job and in 2018, 71.1 million passengers flew through it. In the same year, they transported 1.72 million tons of freight. The CEO of Schiphol, Dick Benschop, is planning to enlarge the amount of movements even more. This plan is being heavily criticised and anger among the local residents and environmentalists. The question is: Could there be a way in which Schiphol can grow?

Noise Pollution

The planes that are landing and taking off are obviously making noise. Especially for the people living the vicinty of the airport or under the flight paths. Sometimes this noise can be annoyingly frustrating. Local residents around airports complain often about the noise pollution which is one of the reasons Schiphol is struggling to grow. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has been negotiating with the local residents since 2015. The first agreement was simple: “Between 2015 and 2020, the airport is allowed to enlarge to 550 000 movements’’. The CEO of Schiphol would rather see the airport grow faster but this is simply not possible.

Moving Schiphol Into The Sea

The area around Schiphol used to be a lake named Haarlemmermeer. The Dutch were able to dewater this lake and build the airport. Nowadays, the area includes cities and agricultural land. The space that is left is not enough to expand the airport. One solution was to rebuild Schiphol airport in the North Sea. Between the old and the new airport it would therefore necessitate a high speed link. This may be ingenius, but unfortunately it's not achievable. The water around the coast is used by fishermen and it could damage the coastal area. The travelling time between this airport and the main Schiphol airport is a problem. Even though the high speed railway is fast, the distance is still around 32 kilometers. This could disturb future connecting flights and could cause delays. The train needs to transport all the luggage and this takes time. This project costs between 33 to 46 Billion euro’s and it can not be realized before 2050. This project is unfortunately not the solution to the problem.

Lelystad Airport

The solution to the problem is Lelystad Airport. The airport is also located in The Netherlands and was built in 1973. Lelystad airport is located near Schiphol meaning that it could possibly manage some of the future flights. The two airports have been negotiating, and from 2020, Lelystad is taking over some of the Holiday flights from Schiphol. In future, Lelystad could potentially expand even more, solving the Schiphol Expansion problem.

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