Schiphol presses ahead with ‘Terminal Zuid’ extension despite cutting flights

Photo: Brandon Hartley
Photo: Brandon Hartley

Schiphol Airport is pressing ahead with plans for a €1bn extension of its terminal building despite having to cut the number of flights per year by 12%.

The airport has put out tenders for Terminal Zuid, as the project is officially called, which was originally due to be finished in 2023 with the aim of carry an extra 14 million passengers a year.

The Financieele Dagblad (FD) reported that the airport said the 100,000 m2 extension was still needed to create ‘breathing space’ to reduce overcrowding in the terminal and redirect passengers during renovations in other parts of the building.

Before the coronavirus pandemic Schiphol was expecting to increase its air traffic to 600,000 flights a year, with 80,000 passengers passing through the terminal.

But in June infrastructure minister Mark Harbers said the number of flights per year would have to be reduced to 440,000 from November 2023, to comply with restrictions on noise and pollution.

Schiphol has also been criticised this year for long queues at the terminal caused by staff shortages and maintenance work on two runways.

The airport has been caught up in the farmers’ protests, with the agriculture sector arguing that Schiphol should take a bigger share of the responsibility for reducing nitrogen compound emissions. After farming, large construction projects are one of the biggest generators of nitrogen pollution.

Architecture firm KAAN was selected in 2017 to design the building and work was due to begin in March 2020, only to be suspended during the pandemic when the number of flights and passengers plummeted.

Schiphol told the FD that it had not committed any investment capital in the project and it was still considering the plans and timing for the project. Under the tender submission, contractors would start work on the building in 2026.

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