Behind-the-scenes look at runway maintenance at Schiphol proves popular

Around 2,000 local residents visited the Schiphol Neighbour Days this past weekend. Visitors to the Neighbour Days got an up-close look at runway 18C-36C, where Schiphol is currently carrying out major maintenance work. On the runway, both young and old could learn all about topics such as runway maintenance, aviation safety and day-to-day operations at the airport.

The visitors heard explanations from Schiphol's fire service, snow fleet, ambulance service, bird control units and marshallers (people who use hand gestures to guide aircraft into position). Employees from Heijmans and Schiphol talked about runway maintenance.

The local residents in attendance included around 850 children. The children could take part in all sorts of activities on runway 18C-36C, such as trying to put on a firefighting suit in 30 seconds like a real firefighter, or using marshalling signs to steer a car through a course marked with cones on the runway. They also drew a work of art on the runway with sidewalk chalk.

The Schiphol Neighbour Days were made possible thanks to the efforts of over 90 Schiphol volunteers and 40 volunteers from other organisations at the airport, such as Air Traffic Control the Netherlands, Dutch Customs and maintenance contractor Heijmans.

Runway maintenance

Schiphol is carrying out major maintenance on runway 18C-36C over a period of six weeks (10 March – 21 April). During this maintenance work, runway 18C-36C is closed to air traffic and aircraft must take other flight routes to and from Schiphol.

‘The major maintenance work on runway 18C-36C offers us a unique opportunity to give local residents a glimpse behind the scenes at the airport. After all, it’s not very often that a runway is closed and you can invite visitors here to show them all the different facets of safe and efficient flight handling. In addition to giving local residents a special experience, the Neighbour Days are a chance for us to connect with and talk to our neighbours,’ says Birgit Otto, Chief Operations Officer of Royal Schiphol Group.

The maintenance work on runway 18C-36C – which is being carried out 24 hours a day by around 200 employees in various shifts – continued during the Schiphol Neighbour Days in order to ensure that the maintenance period does not last any longer than strictly necessary. Runway 18C-36C is scheduled to reopen on the evening of Sunday 21 April.