Visit Holland - The Netherlands
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (Dutch: Luchthaven Schiphol (IATA: AMS, ICAO: EHAM) is the Netherlands' main international airport, located 20 minutes (4.9 NM (9.1 km; 5.6 mi) 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 The airport used to have the IATA code of SPL, which has fallen into disuse and has been replaced by AMS.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.
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.
49.8 million passengers passed through the airport in 2011, a 10% increase compared with 2010.
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%).
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.
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. 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.
Schiphol is equipped with 18 double jetway gates in preparation for airlines introducing the Airbus A380. Emirates was the first airline to the A380 to Schiphol in August 2012, deploying the aircraft on its daily Dubai-Amsterdam service.
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. 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.
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.
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. 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. A new wayfinding signage at Schiphol was designed in 1991 by Paul Mijksenaar.
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.
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 52.312°N 4.800°E.
Schiphol's name is derived from a former fortification named Fort Schiphol which was part of the Stelling van Amsterdam defence works. 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 the number of ships lost in the area.
The construction of the tunnel and railway station in 1992.
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. There are intercity connections to Amsterdam Centraal, Utrecht Centraal, both The Hague Centraal and The Hague HS, Rotterdam Centraal, Eindhoven, Groningen and Enschede. 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
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