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By Christoph Aumüller, Leandra Boudewijn, Philippe Gadet, Reinier van der Marel, Dimitris Rath, Aviation Management, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences
A large hub-airport with a strong home carrier represents usually one of the most important economic drivers for a certain region or even for a whole country. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AAS) is such a driver, especially for North Holland but also for the Netherlands as the fourth largest airport in Europe. Therefore it is clear that one main objective is to maintain this mainport-status also in the future. Establishing and remaining such a status of an airport is always connected to growth concerning passenger numbers and numbers of flight movements due to the worldwide growing aviation market.
Environmental concerns like noise and CO2 pollution are more and more considered nowadays by slapping restrictions on air traffic and these are especially in the Netherlands quite strict. Therefore it is mainly the environmental capacity which is a constraint at Schiphol and not really the physical one like at many other airports in Europe. The Dutch government established a set of restrictions concerning these environmental belongings and therefore today and in the future the capacity of Schiphol is and will be limited.
The Dutch government stated that Schiphol should have on the one hand enough capacity to maintain its important hub position in Europe but on the other hand the environmental impact should be as minimal as possible. One possible and intensively discussed possibility how to succeed in this balancing act would be to divert a substantial number of flights from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to a regional airport elsewhere in the Netherlands. This is the nutrient medium for this research and analysis.
The primary objective of this research was to give an overview of possible consequences, advantages and disadvantages respectively if such an outplacement would occur. Also similar situations in other countries with capacity limits are compared to get an overview about which lessons could be learned and how other airports, airlines or governments have approached similar challenges. Also issues like split operations, Self Hubbing, the impact on the daily wave system of KLM and the airport and more are discussed.
The aviation industry is growing worldwide and connected to that, the amounts of flight movements and carried passengers/freight is increasing. Air transport is one of the most sensitive markets concerning external factors like wars, financial- and oil crises etc. However the growth of the worldwide aviation business on long-term has been steady and this doesn’t seem to change in the near future.
This trend emerges also for the Dutch market with its important international airport Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. The main objective for all the parties involved in the Dutch aviation business is to maintain or even strengthen Schiphol’s strong position as a hub airport within Europe. A differentiating characteristic, especially with regard to the primary opponents London Heathrow, Frankfurt Airport and Paris CDG is that AAS is much more dependent on the transfer passenger due to the small home market. To make sure that Schiphol’s position, as an important international airport will not get jeopardized, it is necessary to offer also in the future this hub function. In a worst case scenario, growth opportunities for the network at AAS are too limited due to governmental restrictions. The attractiveness and quality of Schiphol will become worse and the hub position in Europe could become less important because of lacking competitiveness. In the end the number of destinations will decrease and finally passengers will choose another big hub to connect as there are a lot of alternative opportunities. This negative spiral effect would have not just disastrous consequences for AAS but also for the Dutch economy.
Figure 2: The general situation of the operations at Schiphol is demonstrated with a causal loop
Authors: Christoph Aumüller, Leandra Boudewijn, Philippe Gadet, Reinier van der Marel, Dimitris Rath, Aviation Management, Amsterdam