gSupply chain responsibility

Schiphol Group plays a coordinating role in driving supply chain responsibility, and we share the ambition of our partners to create a clean and healthy environment. To this end, we seek to increase the sustainability of our own business operations. We also provide incentives for passengers to make sustainable travel choices while encouraging suppliers within the chain to improve their impact on working conditions and the environment. Aside from sustainability, we work with our supply chain partners to tackle a number of other important issues, such as the illegal trade of protected flora and fauna species, and safety. Inspired by the need to think and take action together, we endeavour to always go the extra mile in terms of our commitment to supply chain responsibility.

Fleet renewal

The aircraft fleet composition at Schiphol is constantly changing. A recent trend sees airlines opting for next-generation aircraft that create less noise disturbance and lower emissions. For example, the Boeing 737 and Airbus 320 models are gradually being replaced by the Boeing 737 MAX and the Airbus 320neo, respectively. Similarly, in the larger aircraft category, models such as the Boeing 747-400 and Airbus 340 are being succeeded by more sustainable versions: KLM, TUI, Aeromexico and Kenya Airways recently introduced the quiet and fuel-efficient Boeing 787 on flights to and from Schiphol. Several of these new, larger aircraft are being ordered in large quantities for delivery within the next five to ten years, though many will be used to expand fleets rather than acting as replacements for older models.

Whether through fleet renewal or retrofitting, Schiphol strongly encourages the transition to quieter and more sustainable aircraft, as reflected in our revised airport charges structure for 2019-2022 (see box below). At the same time, we note that many of the aircraft currently flying, despite not offering the latest technology, are only a few years old and still meet high sustainability standards. In this respect, these models represent a considerable improvement on the versions they replaced only a few years ago.

New airport charges: A step forward for sustainability

On 31 October 2018, we updated the airport charges structure for Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, with the aim of promoting the use of newer, more environmentally friendly aircraft that produce less noise. The new structure, which takes effect from 1 April 2019 and runs until 31 March 2022, effectively raises the discount rate for more sustainable aircraft, namely the difference between the noisiest and most silent categories.

Under the new system, airlines will pay 180% of the basic rate for take-off and landing fees for the noisiest, most polluting aircraft by 2021. Take-off and landing charges for the cleanest, quietest aircraft will be 45% of the basic rate. This policy will also apply to night flights.

As part of the new structure, Schiphol also brings its aircraft categorisation model into line with recent advancements in aircraft noise technology. We hope that incentives offered for fuel-efficient aircraft translate into lower CO2 emissions from aviation activities at our airport. Further evolution of the new fee structure will be analysed for the following charges period, as outlined in the aviation industry’s ’Smart and Sustainable’ action plan.

Advancing electric aviation

Schiphol Group has an active interest in the possibilities offered by electric aircraft. While commercial aviation's transition to fully electric flights remains some way off, there are clear signs of progress: easyJet, for example, plans to begin introducing electric carriers into its core fleet in 2027 with a view to becoming 100% electric by 2037, and expects to trial a nine-seater electric aircraft in 2019.

July 2018 saw the launch of the General Aviation e-platform, a collaboration aimed at bringing electric aircraft, hybrid fuel systems and other sustainable energy sources to the attention of the Dutch business community and the wider public. Schiphol is involved in these discussions: over the past few years, we have been advocating the approval of an electric aircraft in Dutch airspace and, in July 2018, we were pleased to witness the first electric flight in the Netherlands at the ’Elfwegentocht’ event. During the event, Schiphol, together with our aviation partners, took part in an electric aviation roundtable chaired by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management (I&W).

Sustainable aviation fuels

With kerosene being a major contributor to aviation CO2 emissions, sustainable aviation fuels have the potential to greatly alleviate the environmental impact of air travel. We have prolonged our participation in the KLM Corporate BioFuel Programme, through which we are supporting KLM in its efforts to scale up the use of biokerosene.

Looking further ahead, we are also investigating the possibilities presented by another future sustainable fuel: synthetic kerosene. Plans were recently announced to conduct a feasibility study for a synthetic kerosene pilot plant at Rotterdam The Hague Airport. Please refer to the Regional airports chapter for further information.

Single European Sky

The Single European Sky (SES) initiative advocates a single, unified European airspace free from national borders that will be able to support the region's long-term aviation capacity needs. Royal Schiphol Group and its European partners actively promote the accelerated introduction of SES, which has the potential to modernise Europe’s air traffic control system and drive efficiency across ground processes, aircraft handling and airport use. Optimising the region's airspace will improve safety, increase capacity, shorten flight paths, and reduce costs and fuel consumption as well as aviation emissions. In fact, if all the activities outlined in the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) programme end up being implemented, they stand to reduce Europe's aviation CO2 emissions by as much as 10%.

Schiphol is implementing many of the airport-focused objectives outlined by the SESAR in collaboration with our partners, including taking steps to improve our ground-handling operations. In 2019, our focus is on the construction of an Airport Operations Center (APOC) from where operational managers (including the airport, air traffic control, airlines and ground-handling teams) can work together to jointly manage our different aviation processes.

Expansion of CDM at Schiphol

In May 2018, the aviation parties at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol were connected to the European CDM (Collaborative Decision Making) network managed by Eurocontrol's NMOC (Network Manager Operation Centre). Schiphol now joins 27 other European airports in becoming an official 'CDM Airport'. CDM is a collaborative aviation network designed to alleviate congestion in Europe's airspace through efficient and accurate sharing of information on flight status and schedules between different operational partners.

Schiphol has had a local Airport CDM system in place since November 2015; during this period, CDM has enabled us to increase the predictability of aviation operations and make more efficient use of our capacity, both on the ground and in the air. With our connection to the European CDM network, our focus has now shifted to improving predictability across the wider European airspace. Furthermore, by implementing Eurocontrol's B2B Web service, our airport meets an important future requirement as outlined by the SESAR. To learn more about CDM, visit

Combatting trafficking in protected species

As a member of the Airports Council International (ACI) Wildlife Trafficking Taskforce, we work closely with our partners to tackle illegal trade of protected flora and fauna species. Among other responsibilities, our role sees us participate in data exchanges to help identify actual and potential smugglers and pinpoint illicit animal and plant material. Our efforts align with those of Customs at Schiphol, which carries out thorough checks on potential movements of protected species and is regarded as a frontrunner in the fight against wildlife trafficking.

Nevertheless, with smugglers becoming more sophisticated in their approaches (for example, many now carry eggs of protected species on their person in order to hatch them in another country), extreme vigilance is increasingly required across the entire aviation value chain. It is our responsibility to inform customers and partners about wildlife trafficking and to raise awareness, and we regularly publish articles and reports on this important topic for sharing among the aviation community. In 2019, we will continue stepping up efforts to combat this crime: we aim to sign the Buckingham Palace Declaration during the ACI World Annual General Assembly in April, where we will also present the work being done by Schiphol and Customs against wildlife trafficking.

Implementation of Integral Safety Management System

Our safety processes have been further strengthened with the implementation of the Integral Safety Management System (ISMS). Building on the success of the previous system, Safety Platform Schiphol, which ended in June 2018, the ISMS is a unique collaboration between Schiphol Airport, Air Traffic Control the Netherlands, airlines, ground handlers and refuelling services. In July 2018, a covenant was signed with the Ministry of I&W outlining the future development of ISMS. In 2018, risk analysis concerning runway combination changes and infrastructural developments were carried out, along with two joint incident investigations. The results were subsequently followed up on by the TOP Safety Action Group of ISMS, which includes a number of Schiphol operational executives. The improvement measures resulting from ISMS are detailed in the Safety Improvement Roadmap Schiphol.

The first of its kind for the industry, the ISMS partnership is tasked with overseeing and improving safety management processes across the Dutch aviation landscape. Importantly, the ISMS does not replace the existing safety management systems of individual companies, rather it complements them by focusing on the overall risks involved with Schiphol’s operations. In this way, safety risks and improvement opportunities beyond the remit of individual parties are quantified, while the various aviation parties at Schiphol jointly decide on measures to further improve safety.

Making aviation more sustainable

Royal Schiphol Group has been invited to take part in the sustainable aviation branch of the so-called 'Mobility climate table': one of five roundtable sessions set up by the Dutch government to investigate routes to a 49% reduction in the country’s CO2 emissions by 2030. Each round table will concentrate on a different sector of the economy, with the outcomes helping to form the new climate law (Klimaatwet), which is due to come into effect in 2019. The participants taking part in the roundtable on sustainable aviation were allocated to one of six focus areas, ranging from fleet renewal to sustainable aviation fuel.

The 'Smart and Sustainable' action plan

In addition, in October 2018, Schiphol, along with other Dutch aviation parties, presented the Ministry of I&W with their ‘Smart and Sustainable’ action plan. The action plan is a multi-year strategy aimed at reducing carbon emissions generated from international aviation activities in the Netherlands to 2005 levels by 2030. This effective 35% reduction will form an important milestone in reaching the International Air Transport Association (IATA) target of a 50% decrease in aviation emissions by 2050. The strategy will also provide input for the sustainable aviation roundtable taking place in spring 2019.

Realising this plan will require a joint effort. Royal Schiphol Group is among 20 partners working together to reach the following seven objectives:

  1. Optimising flight routes and procedures
  2. Encouraging cleaner aircraft by levying airport fees
  3. Introducing sustainable fuel
  4. Radical fleet renewal
  5. Deploying international train services and other sustainable means of transport over short distances
  6. Emissions-free airports
  7. A fast and efficient journey to and from the airport

We have already begun taking steps to address these ambitions; for example, by accelerating the transition towards green gas and the usage of E-GPUs.

Fire-fighting foam contamination

Before its effects were fully understood, a non-biodegradable toxic fluorine, PFOS, was frequently used in fire-fighting foam and other industrial products. As is the case in other worldwide locations, the soil at Schiphol is now PFOS-polluted to the extent that concentrations in some areas of the airport exceed the clean-up limit set by the province of North-Holland. Independent safety assessments by Schiphol's contractors have concluded the contaminated soil so far poses no significant health risk to those who come into contact with it. Nevertheless, we continue to make every effort to find a long-term solution to this issue.

Schiphol examines the environmental threat of PFOS on a case-by-case basis. Contaminated soil is typically excavated in the event of construction and development projects; however, the ban on dumping requires us to store the affected material on site rather than removing or recycling it. As such, approximately 100,000 cubic metres of soil excavated from the Schiphol site is currently stored in depots awaiting redistribution or decontamination. By applying the municipal reuse policy, we were able to re-purpose approximately 50,000 cubic metres of soil for land reclamation or other uses during 2018. We have also held discussions with the Ministry of I&W regarding a proposed national policy for managing PFOS-contaminated land. Our hope is that such a policy would eliminate the requirement to store soil, while also alleviating the substantial delays and costs associated with PFOS disposal. We will continue to monitor developments over 2019.


Making the shift to a circular economy