How Schiphol and its partners work on the process of the future

It seems like a long time ago when Schiphol was busy, as we remain in the midst of the corona crisis. Our airport was growing and therefore close to its limit. That’s why the Airport Operations Centre, or APOC, was begun. It enables us to ensure that we can also handle the complicated flow of passengers and airplanes at Schiphol in the future.

What APOC is
APOC, which is based in Schiphol’s World Trade Center, is there to manage the logistics processes at our airport that are becoming increasingly difficult every day. This is achieved in close cooperation with our partners. That’s how we ensure that planes continue to depart on time.

The current process
The current process is working but only in parts. Airports can have an influence on many elements of the process, but not everything. For example, a strike in public transport may result in a plane not leaving on time. Schiphol took the lead to set up a new way of working since it’s getting harder to solve this on the spot (or ‘in operations’, as we like to call it). In APOC, many parties work together to solve, predict and prevent the many problems that can occur.

Is APOC new
No, the idea behind APOC isn’t new. It’s originally from Eurocontrol, the organisation that coordinates and supports European aviation. Schiphol is not the first airport to have an APOC. Zaventum Airport in Belgium and London Heathrow in the United Kingdom have already adopted this way of working.

What happens in APOC
The quartermasters at Schiphol have been busy to draw up different possible scenarios since APOC opened its doors in January this year. They do this by looking 7 days ahead. We call this D-7 (you pronounce this: D minus 7). We look at how scenarios played out on the day itself and evaluate this a day later (called D1). If we work in this way, we can look at what didn’t go well, so our quartermasters can improve on this in the future. The magic word is predictability.

Who is part of APOC
Only employees of Schiphol at the moment, but parties such as KLM and Air Traffic Control often join. Our plan is to warm-up first and gain the experience that we need. That’s why APOC’s current scenarios haven’t been put into practice yet.

How this will continue
You have to learn the basics before you set sail. That’s exactly what we’re doing in APOC at the moment. We’re still ‘learning to sail’ on land, before we head out to the water. We intend o bring as many partners as possible together into APOC in the coming period. These include partners like airlines, handing agents and the Koninklijke Marechaussee (Royal Military Police). We will work together under one roof to ensure that your plane departs on time, today and in to the future.