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Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
Luchthaven Schiphol
Schiphol Logo.png
Schiphol's entrance
Airport type Public
Owner 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
Direction Length Surface
m ft
18R/36L 3,800 12,467 Asphalt
06/24 3,500 11,483 Asphalt
09/27 3,453 11,329 Asphalt
18L/36R 3,400 11,155 Asphalt
18C/36C 3,300 10,826 Asphalt
04/22 2,014 6,608 Asphalt
Sources: Airport website[1] and AIP[2]

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (IATA: AMSICAO: EHAM) is the Netherlands' main international airport, located 20 minutes (4.9 NM (9.1 km; 5.6 mi)[2]) southwest of Amsterdam, in the municipality of Haarlemmermeer. The airport's official English name, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, places the words in the Dutch order (Luchthaven Schiphol) instead of Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. The airport used to have the IATA code of SPL, which has fallen into disuse and has been replaced by AMS.



KLM and NWA fleet at Schiphol

Schiphol is an important European airport, ranking as Europe’s 3rd largest and the world’s 14th largest for cargo tonnage. It also ranks as the world’s 3rd largest by international passenger traffic as well as Europe’s 5th and the world’s 14th busiest by overall passenger volume. Additionally, Schiphol ranks as Europe’s 5th and the world’s 17th busiest airport by number of flights, handling 446,569 traffic movements in 2008, a 1.7% drop on 2007. Schiphol's main competitors as in passenger and cargo throughput with London Heathrow Airport, Frankfurt Airport, Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport and Madrid-Barajas Airport. In 2007, Schiphol handled 47,430,019 passengers in 2008, 0.8% down on 2007, ranking it fifth in Europe behind London, Paris, Frankfurt and Madrid. There are 188 loading slots in the whole airport.[3] About 68% of the passenger flights were to Europe, almost 21% of its passengers travelled on intercontinental flights and 11% to Asia; cargo was mainly headed to Asia (44%) and North America (20%).[4] In the same year, Schiphol handled 1,602,585 tons of cargo in 2008, a 3% downturn on 2007, ranking it third in Europe behind Paris and Frankfurt.[5] In 2005 direct flights were operated to more than 260 destinations in 91 countries. The airport is one out of four airports in the world to have a rating of four stars in Skytrax's grading system.[6]

Schiphol has five main runways, plus one used mainly by general aviation aircraft. The northern end of the Polderbaan, the name of last runway to be constructed, is 7 km 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, 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 or Bmibaby) continue to operate from Schiphol, using the low-cost H-pier.

Schiphol is the home base of KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines), Arkefly, Martinair, Amsterdam Airlines and, and a hub for Delta Air Lines in cooperation with KLM.

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


Map showing the six runways of Schiphol.
Entrance to the airport's Rijksmuseum

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[10]. Admission to the exhibits is free.

Schiphol has its own mortuary, where the dead can be handled and kept before departure or after arrival. Since October 2006, people can also get married at Schiphol[11].

For aviation enthusiasts, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has a large rooftop viewing area, called the Panoramaterras. It is not accessible to connecting passengers. Enthusiasts and the public can enter, free of charge, from the airport's landside. 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.

The wayfinding signage at Schiphol was designed in 1991 by Paul Mijksenaar[12].


Schiphol opened on 16 September 1916 as a military airbase, consisting of a few barracks and a field serving as both platform and runways. When civil aircraft started to make use of the field (17 December 1920), it was often called Schiphol-les-bains. The Fokker aircraft manufacturer started a factory near Schiphol airport in 1951.[citation needed]

Schiphol's name is derived from a former fortification named Fort Schiphol which was part of the Stelling van Amsterdam defence works.[13] 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 Hole', a reference to the number of ships lost in the area.




The air traffic control tower at Schiphol in 1960
Inside the terminal
Shopping area
Schiphol Airport's observation deck
Air Traffic Control Towers (ATCTs) at Schiphol Airport

Schiphol uses a one terminal concept, where all facilities are located under a single roof, fanning off the central 'plaza'. The areas, though, are divided into three sections or halls: 1, 2 and 3. To all of these halls, piers or concourses are connected. However, it is possible, on both sides of security or customs, to walk from one pier to another, even if they are connected to different halls. The exception to this is the low-cost pier M: once airside (i.e. past security), passengers cannot go to any of the other halls or piers. Immigration 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.
Departure Hall 2
  • Consists of Piers D and E.
    • Pier D has two floor levels. The lower floor is used for 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 D-60 and up, non-Schengen gates are numbered from D-1 to D-59.
    • Pier E is a dedicated non-Schengen area.
Departure Hall 3
  • Consists of F, G, H and M.
    • Piers F, G and H are non-Schengen areas; of these, Piers H and M are the low-cost piers.
    • Pier M is a dedicated Schengen area.

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

Airlines Destinations Pier
Adria Airways Ljubljana B
Aer Lingus Cork, Dublin D
Aeroflot Moscow-Sheremetyevo D
Afriqiyah Airways Tripoli G
Air Arabia Maroc Casablanca G
Air Astana Atyrau, Uralsk D
Air Berlin Palma de Mallorca [seasonal] M
Air France Lyon, Paris-Charles de Gaulle C
Air France operated by CityJet Basel/Mulhouse C
Air France operated by Régional Clermont-Ferrand, Lyon, Nantes, Strasbourg C
Air Malta Malta C
Air Transat Calgary, Toronto-Pearson, Vancouver G
AirBaltic Riga, Vilnius D
Alitalia Milan-Linate, Rome-Fiumicino, Turin B
Arkefly Antalya, Aruba, Aqaba [Seasonal], Banjul, Boa Vista, Bonaire, Cancun, Curaçao, Fortaleza, Hurghada, Luxor, Kathmandu, Monastir, Montego Bay, Natal, Holguin, Porlamar, Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, St Maarten, Sal, Salvador da Bahia, Sharm el-Sheikh, Toronto-Pearson [seasonal], Varadero D, G
Armavia Yerevan D
Atlas Blue Al Hoceima, Essaouira [begins 7 August], Nador, Oujda, Tangier D, G
Austrian Airlines Vienna B
Austrian operated by Tyrolean Airways Vienna B
Belavia Minsk D
BMI London-Heathrow [ends 27 March] D
Bmibaby Birmingham, East Midlands, Manchester H
British Airways London-Gatwick, London-Heathrow D
British Airways operated by BA CityFlyer London-City D
Bulgaria Air Burgas [seasonal], Sofia D
Cathay Pacific Hong Kong E
China Airlines Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Taipei-Taoyuan F
China Southern Airlines Beijing-Capital, Guangzhou E
Cityjet London-City D
Continental Airlines Houston-Intercontinental, Newark G
Croatia Airlines Dubrovnik, Pula, Split, Zagreb D
Cyprus Airways Larnaca, Paphos D
Czech Airlines Prague D
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Montreal-Trudeau, Mumbai, New York-JFK [resumes 28 March], Newark, Portland (OR), Seattle/Tacoma, Toronto-Pearson E, F, G
EasyJet Belfast-International, Bristol, Doncaster/Sheffield [begins 19 April], Edinburgh, Liverpool, London-Gatwick, London-Luton, London-Stansted, Madrid, Milan-Malpensa, Prague [begins 14 May], Rome-Fiumicino, Split [begins 10 July] H, M
EasyJet Switzerland Basel/Mulhouse, Geneva M
EgyptAir Cairo G
El Al Tel Aviv G
Emirates Dubai [begins 1 May][14] G
Estonian Air Tallinn, Vilnius D
EVA Air Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Taipei-Taoyuan E
Finnair Helsinki B
Flybe Exeter, Southampton H
Garuda Indonesia Jakarta-Soekarno-Hatta [resumes 1 June][15] G
Georgian Airways Tbilisi D
Iberia Madrid B
Icelandair Reykjavik-Keflavík B
Iran Air Tehran-Imam Khomeini G
Israir Tel Aviv G
Japan Airlines Tokyo-Narita E
Jat Airways Belgrade D Leeds/Bradford H
Kenya Airways Nairobi F
KLM Aberdeen, Abu Dhabi, Abuja, Accra, Addis Ababa, Almaty, Aruba, Athens, Atlanta, Bahrain, Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Barcelona, Beijing-Capital, Bergen, Berlin-Tegel, Birmingham, Bonaire, Bucharest-Otopeni, Cairo, Calgary, Cape Town, Chengdu, Chicago-O'Hare, Copenhagen, Curaçao, Dallas/Fort Worth, Damascus, Dammam, Dar es Salaam, Delhi, Denpasar/Bali, Doha, Dubai, Edinburgh, Entebbe, Geneva, Glasgow-International, Gothenburg-Landvetter, Guayaquil, Hangzhou [begins 8 May], Helsinki, Hong Kong, Houston-Intercontinental, Istanbul-Atatürk, Jakarta-Soekarno-Hatta, Johannesburg, Kano, Khartoum, Kiev-Boryspil, Kilimanjaro, Kuala Lumpur, Kuwait, Lagos, Lima, Lisbon, London-Heathrow, Los Angeles, Madrid, Manchester, Manila, Mexico City, Milan-Linate, Milan-Malpensa, Montréal-Trudeau, Moscow-Sheremetyevo, Munich, Muscat, Nairobi, New York–JFK, Nice, Osaka-Kansai, Oslo-Gardermoen, Panama City, Paramaribo, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Quito, Rome-Fiumicino, St Maarten, St Petersburg, San Francisco, São Paulo-Guarulhos, Seoul-Incheon, Shanghai-Pudong, Singapore, Stockholm-Arlanda, Taipei-Taoyuan, Tehran-Imam Khomeini, Tel Aviv, Tokyo-Narita, Toronto-Pearson, Tripoli, Vancouver, Vienna, Warsaw, Washington-Dulles, Zürich B, C, D, E, F
KLM operated by KLM Cityhopper Aberdeen, Bergen, Berlin-Tegel, Billund, Birmingham, Bologna, Bordeaux, Bremen, Bristol, Brussels, Cardiff, Cologne/Bonn, Durham-Tees Valley, Düsseldorf, Edinburgh, Frankfurt, Geneva, Glasgow-International, Gothenburg-Landvetter, Hamburg, Hanover, Kingston upon Hull, Kristiansand, Leeds/Bradford, Linköping, Liverpool, London-Heathrow, Luxembourg, Manchester, Marseilles, Munich, Newcastle, Nice, Norwich, Nuremberg, Oslo-Gardermoen, Oslo-Sandefjord, Prague, Stavanger, Stuttgart, Toulouse, Trondheim, Venice-Marco Polo, Vienna, Zürich B, C, D, E, F
KLM operated by PrivatAir Houston-Intercontinental E
Korean Air Madrid, Seoul-Incheon G
LOT Polish Airlines Warsaw C
Lufthansa Frankfurt B
Lufthansa Regional operated by Lufthansa CityLine Hamburg, Munich B
Malaysia Airlines Kuala Lumpur F
Malév Hungarian Airlines Budapest D
Martinair Aruba, Cancun, Curaçao, Havana, Mombasa, Orlando, Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, Varadero G
Meridiana Florence C
Norwegian Air Shuttle Copenhagen, Oslo-Gardermoen M
Olympic Air Athens B
Pakistan International Airlines Islamabad, Istanbul-Atatürk, Lahore G
Pegasus Airlines Antalya, İstanbul-Sabiha Gökçen, Kayseri D, G
Pegasus operated by IZair Izmir G
Rossiya St Petersburg D
Royal Air Maroc Casablanca, Nador, Tangier D, G
Royal Jordanian Amman D
Scandinavian Airlines Copenhagen, Oslo-Gardermoen, Stockholm-Arlanda B
Singapore Airlines Singapore E
Sky Airlines Antalya D, G
SunExpress Antalya, İzmir, İstanbul-Sabiha Gökçen G
Surinam Airways Paramaribo G
Swiss International Airlines Zürich C
Swiss operated by Swiss European Air Lines Basel/Mulhouse C
Syrian Air Aleppo, Damascus D/G
TAP Portugal Lisbon, Porto [seasonal] B
TAP operated by Portugalia Porto [seasonal] B
TAROM Bucharest-Otopeni D Agadir, Alicante, Almeria, Antalya, Banjul, Barcelona, Bergerac, Berlin-Tegel, Bodrum, Catania [begins 7 April], Corfu, Dalaman, Djerba, Dubrovnik, Faro, Fuerteventura, Funchal, Heraklion, İzmir, Kefalonia, Kithira, Kos, La Palma, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Lesbos, Lisbon, Malaga, Marrakech, Montpellier, Nice, Pau, Pisa, Preveza/Lefkas, Rovaniemi [seasonal], Olbia, Tenerife-South, Valencia, Venice-Treviso, Zakynthos B, C, D, G
Tunisair Tunis G
Turkish Airlines Ankara, Istanbul-Atatürk, Istanbul-Sabiha Gökçen, Kayseri [seasonal] G
Ukraine International Airlines Kiev-Boryspil D
United Airlines Chicago-O'Hare, Washington-Dulles G
US Airways Philadelphia G
Vueling Airlines Barcelona, Bilbao [begins 30 March], Ibiza [begins 4 June], La Coruña [begins 30 March], Malaga [seasonal], Seville [seasonal], Valencia [seasonal] B
Windjet Fòrli M

Cargo airlines

Other users

Ground transport


The construction of the tunnel and railway station in 1992

The Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS), the national Dutch train operator, has a major passenger train station directly underneath the passenger terminal complex and offers the most convenient and cheap transportation into Amsterdam, Utrecht, The Hague or other cities. Besides intercity connections to Amsterdam Centraal, Utrecht, both The Hague Centraal and The Hague HS, Rotterdam and Eindhoven, this station is a stop for the international high-speed train Thalys, connecting the airport with a direct train connection to Antwerp, Brussels and Paris. Deutsche Bahn operates an InterCity train service from Schiphol airport to Berlin six times a day, running more or less every two hours. It runs via Amsterdam Zuid, Amersfoort, Bad Bentheim, Osnabrück and Hannover, taking about 6.5 hours from Schiphol to Berlin.


Buses serving Schiphol include the no. 300 "Zuidtangent" (South Tangent), which as its name implies describes a gentle curve linking Haarlem to the west and the Bijlmer to the north, mostly using a dedicated busway. A busway alongside the A4 motorway allows services from Amsterdam, for instance Connexxion routes to Alphen aan den Rijn, also to avoid traffic jams.

Accidents and incidents

The crash site of El Al Flight 1862 in 1992
The crash site of Turkish Airlines Flight 1951 on 25 February 2009
  • 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 wasn't 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 feet (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.
  • 27 October 2005, a fire broke out at the airport's detention center, 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 to the airport's Polderbaan, just 1 km short of the 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 feet. As a cause of this the autothrottle system closed the thrust levers to idle, as it is programmed to reduce thrust when below 27 feet 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.
  • 25 December 2009, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, an Islamic terrorist from Nigeria, set off an explosive device on Northwest Airlines Flight 253, an Airbus A330 from Schiphol as the plane was landing at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport in Romulus, Michigan. The device failed to go off correctly, and the suspect suffered burns to his lower body. Three other passengers had minor injuries.[16]
  • 13 January 2010, an Arkefly Boeing 767-300 PH-AHQ operating flight OR361 from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to Aruba Airport declared an emergency after a man who claimed to have a bomb on board began a struggle with the flight crew, the aircraft made an emergency landing at Shannon Airport. Gardai stormed the plane and arrested the man, where he was taken to Shannon Garda station. A passenger who had surgery the previous month collapsed in the terminal while waiting for the continuation of the flight and had to be taken to a local hospital. The replacement aircraft PH-AHY also a Boeing 767-300 continued the flight to Aruba.
  • 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 onboard when the Dutch police arrested him.[17][18] 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.[19]

Airport Schiphol in popular culture

In the 1983 book Floodgate by Alistair MacLean, Schiphol is subjected to a terrorist attack, in which the entire airport is flooded after a bombing of the surrounding dikes.

Schiphol is also seen in the 2004 Bollywood movie Hum Tum.

The Dutch reality TV programme Hello Goodbye produced by broadcaster NCRV is filmed at the airport.


  1. ^ Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (official site)
  2. ^ a b EHAM – Amsterdam / Schiphol. AIP from AIS the Netherlands, effective 11 Mar 2010.
  3. ^ "Passenger Traffic 2006 Final". Airports Council International. 2007-07-18. 
  4. ^ "Annual report Schiphol Group 2007". Schipholgroup. 2007. 
  5. ^ "Cargo Traffic 2006 Final". Airports Council International. 2007-07-18. 
  6. ^ "Airport Star Ranking - 4 Star Airports". Skytrax. 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-17. 
  7. ^ Airport Technology
  8. ^ Tourist Information on buildings and water managment
  9. ^ Algemeen Hoogtebestand Nederlands, official elevation map by the Ministry of Water and Transport
  10. ^ Rijksmuseum Amsterdam Schiphol
  11. ^ Will you marry me at the airport?
  12. ^ ""Amsterdam Airport Schipol"". 2009-05-18. 
  13. ^ (Dutch) Stelling van Amsterdam - Fort van het Schiphol
  14. ^ Emirates says it with flowers by announcing flights to Amsterdam
  15. ^ Garuda Indonesia to resume Amsterdam from 1st June 2010
  16. ^ Officials: Possible terror attack on Northwest jet
  17. ^ 'Fake pilot' arrested moments before take-off
  18. ^ Swedish pilot flew 13 years without licence
  19. ^ Swedish pilot flew without licence for 13 years
(deutsch: 08.01.2009 12:20 bis 12:35 -weblink (Time: 10mins)


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

External links


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