Amsterdam Airport Misses Milestone

Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport dealt with 39.9 million passengers in 2003, down by two percent compared with 2002, according to figures released by the Schiphol Group. The number of flights was also down, reflecting the difficult international trading conditions over the year. In spite of missing the 40 million passenger milestone, the airport management is predicting a strong recovery in 2004.

imageA spokesman for Schiphol said passenger numbers and flights were down as a result of the Iraq war, the outbreak of SARS and a generally poor economic situation. “However, passenger transport showed positive signs of recovery during the last few months of 2003, and it is projected that the number of passengers traveling via Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in 2004 will increase by 4.5 percent to around 41.7 million, with the number of air transport movements and cargo transport anticipated to increase by between 2.5 and 3 percent.”

Record investments of about 430 million Euros (US$ 541 million) have been scheduled for 2004, including an extension of Departure Lounge 1 and the West Wing of the terminal, construction of a northern taxiway to the new fifth runway, baggage facilities, security and fire safety.

An annex of the famous Rijksmuseum has been opened at the airport, making Amsterdam Schiphol the first airport in the world to have its own fine art gallery. Ten works of art by Dutch masters are on permanent display and there will be regularly changing presentations of works from the Rijksmuseum collection. Paintings from the Van Gogh and the Modern Masters exhibition, with Van Gogh’s famous Self-Portrait as the centre-piece,are being showcased in the Airport gallery until mid-April. The museum is open to air passengers free of charge.

By David Brown
eTN London

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