Am­s­ter­dam Schiphol’s sin­gle ter­mi­nal

Alex McWhirter looks back at the launch of Schiphol’s fa­mous sin­gle ter­mi­nal 50 years ago

Business Traveller - - LIFESTYLE CONTENTS -

Am­s­ter­dam’s award-win­ning air­port is renowned for its sin­gle ter­mi­nal. Whereas other ma­jor global hubs have two, three, four or even more ter­mi­nals, Schiphol has coped with one for 50 years.

The ad­van­tage for pas­sen­gers is ease of con­nec­tiv­ity. When the new ter­mi­nal opened on the Schiphol air­field in 1967, it was con­sid­ered a won­der of the avi­a­tion age. So much so that I flew home from Cologne (where I was at the time) via Am­s­ter­dam to see it for my­self. What set Schiphol apart was that it was the first Euro­pean fa­cil­ity specif­i­cally de­signed for trans­fer pas­sen­gers and shop­ping. This con­tin­ues to suit home air­line KLM, as most of its cus­tomers travel through, rather than to, Am­s­ter­dam. It is backed up with six run­ways and its own rail sta­tion linked to Europe’s high-speed net­work.

Schiphol is vi­tal for the Nether­lands, con­tribut­ing bil­lion an­nu­ally to the Dutch econ­omy. It pro­vides 300,000 jobs di­rectly and in­di­rectly, while 64 mil­lion pas­sen­gers used the air­port last year.

Over the years, the sin­gle ter­mi­nal has ex­panded to meet de­mand, but af­ter half a cen­tury it is feel­ing the pres­sure. Pas­sen­gers com­plain about con­ges­tion and dis­tances be­tween gates. A se­cond ter­mi­nal will soon be nec­es­sary.

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