Schiphol adjusts construction schedule due to coronavirus crisis


COVID-19 is creating a unique situation around the globe, within the Netherlands, in the aviation sector and therefore also at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. It is affecting the timing of construction projects and maintenance work at the airport as well. On the one hand, the present reduction in the number of air transport movements and passengers is freeing up time and space to improve maintenance as well as project efficiency in the terminal and on the apron and taxiways. On the other hand, Schiphol has found itself in the same position as other organisations where it needs to cut costs as well as achieve an optimal balance between short-term investments and the need for capacity in the future. The Core Schiphol (Kern-Schiphol) scenario has led to the identification of some 180 opportunities to complete maintenance work as well as certain project elements faster and more efficiently in a two-month period.

Since the consolidation of Schiphol into Core Schiphol, a large part of the airport has been out of service. This scenario has paved the way for work to be completed in a shorter time frame, without any disruption to passengers. To name a few examples:

  • Scheduled maintenance to the drop-off road (Ceintuurbaan) is being performed. Work that could have a major impact on traffic flows at Schiphol is being carried out now instead of in the spring as previously scheduled. This work will be completed in May 2020; the finishing touches necessary in the autumn will not disrupt traffic.
  • The number of security lanes in Departure Hall 4 will be increased from five to six and a new CT scan will be installed in each lane. While the original completion date for this project was approximately September 2020, this date can now be brought forward to mid-May 2020.
  • Schiphol is bringing forward the maintenance work to the drinking water supply in Departure Hall 3 and Departure Lounge 3. To this end, it will temporarily shut off the entire drinking water supply in this area. Given the current situation, this work can be done now, minimising disturbance for passengers.
  • Maintenance work will be performed on three aircraft stands, which will involve the pouring of new concrete.

Progress on construction of new pier and terminal
Construction of the new pier is now in full swing and will go ahead as planned. The current tendering procedure for the new terminal will be broken down into a number of phases. While the original award date of June 2020 will be postponed to a later date, various scenarios will be developed with the impact of COVID-19 in mind.

Redevelopment of Departure Hall 1 and Departure Lounge 1
Work to create more space for check-in and security in Departure Hall 1 has now reached an advanced stage; it will have been completed at the beginning of 2021. The first new security lines will be taken into use in the second half of 2020. Work is currently still under way as well on a design for Lounge 1, which is also due to have been completed this year. The timing of the construction and renovation of Lounge 1 will be reconsidered on the basis of recovery scenarios as well as forecasts for the aviation sector.

Completion of the double taxiway
With the exception of the Quebec taxiway, the terminal complex is surrounded by a system of double taxiways for taxiing aircraft. With the construction of a second viaduct over the A4 motorway, Quebec will become a double taxiway as well. This work will be completed in a number of phases. The first phase, the construction of a second viaduct, will go ahead as scheduled. However, the work necessary for the other phases will be delayed.

As has been indicated earlier, the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to have a negative effect on the passenger demand for flights via the airports of Royal Schiphol Group for some time yet. It is not without reason to think that it could take a number of years before the number of passengers and of air transport movements return to levels seen prior to the COVID-19 crisis.