Schiphol airport needs to build a second terminal and expand its capacity by 60% by 2035 to remain an intercontinental hub, a survey of the industry has concluded.
That represents an extra 800,000 flight movements and an increase in passenger numbers from the present 70 million to 120 million.
A survey conducted by the Telegraaf and published on Tuesday reflected the scale of the challenge the new cabinet will face on the subject of the national airport.
‘There are some very tough decisions to be made. If the Netherlands wants to continue to flourish as an international corporate centre, Schiphol has to remain among the top aviation hubs,’ said René Klawer, chairman of employers’ association VNO-NCW West.
That will require an investment of several billion euros over the coming years. The cabinet should also agree to a master plan by 2020 in order to ensure future growth, said airline consultant Walter Visser who previously worked for Middle-Eastern carrier Emirates.
Plans by Schiphol, KLM and air traffic control vary widely. These plans must be consolidated in the interests of the Dutch corporate sector, he added.
Visser recommends appointing a separate junior minister or selecting a group of ‘wise men’ to guide the future development of the Dutch aviation activities. ‘These plans are now in the hands of a junior minister who also holds the environment portfolio. That does not work.’
VNO-NCW’s Klawer said the government should stop collecting a dividend from Schiphol, which funds development of the airport.
‘It’s not a cash cow. The demand for a 6.7% return on investment is not relevant. Schiphol is a major engine of the Dutch economy. That generates sufficient income in itself,’ Klawer said.
Aviation expert Joris Melkert of Delft University of Technology said it was imperative to build a second terminal at Schiphol. A single teminal is no longer compatible with growth projections, he said.
The environmental problems will solve themselves through new technologies, said Melkert ‘New generations of aircraft are cleaner, more fuel efficient and quieter. They will dominate the skies after 2030 and noise pollution will be reduced sharply.
The airport authority’s plans are based on projected growth of just 600,000 aircraft movements a year. Schiphol’s present plans call for investment of about €6bn.
But Melkert said at least €10bn will be necessary just to develop the second terminal by 2023.
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