Schiphol (IATA: AMS, ICAO: EHAM) (municipality Haarlemmermeer) is the Netherlands' main airport. Located 20 minutes (17.5 km) south-west of Amsterdam, Schiphol is a European mainport, competing in passenger and cargo throughput with Heathrow International Airport in London, UK, Frankfurt International Airport in Frankfurt am Main, Germany and Charles de Gaulle International Airport in Roissy, France. The airport also had the IATA code of SPL but this has fallen into disuse.
In 2006, Schiphol ranked fourth in Europe in terms of passenger traffic with 46,088,221 passengers, behind London Heathrow (67,530,223), Paris Charles de Gaulle (56,808,967), and Frankfurt am Main (52,810,683). Almost 35% of its passengers travelled on intercontinental flights. In the same year Schiphol ranked third in terms of cargo with 1559 thousand tons, behind Paris and Frankfurt.
KLM fleet at Schiphol has 5 main runways, plus 1 used mainly by general aviation aircraft. The "fifth runway" (really the sixth) was completed in 2003. Plans have already been made for a seventh runway.
The airport is built as one large terminal split into three large departure halls, the most recent having been completed in 1994, which converge again once airside. There are plans for further terminal expansion.
Because of the intense traffic and high landing fees, some low cost carriers decided to move their flights to smaller airports, such as Rotterdam and Eindhoven.
Schiphol is the home base of KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines), Martinair and Transavia, and a hub for United States based Northwest Airlines.
Schiphol has won more than 120 prizes over the years, in 1980, 1981, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1990 and 2003 it was voted the best airport in the world. It was honoured with the title of "Best European Airport" during 15 consecutive years (1988-2003) and has won a lot more prizes, including "Best Business Travel Airport". This is not only because of its usually perfectly organized operations, but also because of its high number of international and intercontinental flights. In 2005 direct flights were operated to more than 260 destinations in 91 countries. It is currently given a rating of four stars by Skytrax's airport grading exercise along with five other airports.
Schiphol has large shopping areas as a source of revenue and as an additional attractant to air-carrier passengers. Schiphol Plaza is the shopping centre before customs, hence not only for air travellers, but also for non travelling visitors. There is a regular-size supermarket, Food Village, that is open until midnight seven days a week. The Rijksmuseum also operates a small dependance at the airport, offering a small overview of both classical and contemporary art.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia