Schiphol Airport cannot grow without taking drastic safety measures, reports ANP.
A new report by the Dutch Safety Board, published on Thursday, warns that the ‘limits of safe air traffic control are in sight’ and that if the airport wants to grow, handling procedures must be far less complex.
The investigation was the result of several incidents at the Netherlands’ major airport, including near-collisions between planes, but the board found ‘no evidence that the airport is currently unsafe.’
One vulnerability is that take-off and landing runways cross, while 18 times a day the airport needs to use different combinations of runways to limit noise for nearby residents.
The OVV recommends this switching is reduced because the systems are so complex that they are ‘producing structural problems’. London’s Heathrow handles 500,000 flights a year with two runways but Schiphol needs five – although the London airport is planning a controversial third one.
Earlier on Friday, the Financieele Dagblad reported, a study by research bureau SEO for airport operators lobby group ACI Europe found airfares at Schiphol are likely to increase due to congestion. It warned that if Amsterdam’s airport cannot grow, airlines will have to pare down their route networks.
Rob Jetten, an MP for the D66 liberal democratic party said that ‘safety must absolutely come first’, calling for infrastructure minister Sharon Dijksma to table a debate on the safety board’s report.
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