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Home Annual Statements Financial Statements 2012 Notes to the consolidated financial statements Related parties Operation of the airport

Operation of the airport

In its legislative capacity, the government (State of the Netherlands) is responsible for the legislation governing the operation of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, which is provided for indefinitely in law in Chapter 8, Part 4 of the Aviation Act and other legislation.

Sections 8.7 and 8.17 of the Aviation Act impose constraints on the development and use of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. The Airport Traffic Decree lays down rules for airport use and stipulates limits for noise levels, air pollution and risks to public safety. The Airport Planning Decree defines the airport zone and the restrictions governing the use of the area in and around the airport.

Pursuant to Section 8.18 of the Aviation Act, the operator is under obligation to keep the airport open in accordance with the rules laid down in the Airport Traffic Decree. The operator may ignore this requirement if necessary in the interests of safety. The airport operator together with the provider of air traffic services and the airlines is required to promote the smooth operation of air traffic in accordance with the Airport Traffic Decree.

Pursuant to Section 8.25a of the Aviation Act, the operator of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is under obligation to operate the airport, making such provisions as are necessary for the proper handling of the airport traffic and the associated transport of persons and goods, having due regard to the provisions of Section 8.3 of the Aviation Act with the objective of achieving sustainable growth of Schiphol as a Main Port. This concerns key elements of the services provided by an airport, such as the runway system, baggage system, aircraft parking aprons, terminal building, piers, gates etc.

Airport operation imposes a duty of care on the operator to record threats to public safety and the environmental impact associated with air traffic. In that context, the operator is required to make the measurements and computations necessary in order to maintain such records.

Chapter 3A of the Aviation Act imposes obligations on the operator with regard to airport safety as specified in Section

Chapter 6 of the Aviation Supervision Rules requires the operator to take certain precautions with regard to the safety of the airfield such as marking of obstacles, installation of airfield lighting, provision of fire services and general maintenance of the airfield. In that context, the operator is under obligation to take measures to ensure effective supervision of safety and good order on the airfield. For this purpose, the operator has set up a safety management system which has been certified by the authorities.

Supervision of operation

There are two lines of supervision of the operation of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.

  • One line of supervision concerns preventing of abuse a position of economic strength by the operator. The body responsible for this supervision is the NMa Office of Transport Regulation. The supervision relates to the charges and conditions fixed by the operator pursuant to Section 8.25d of the Aviation Act to be met by the airport users in the forthcoming year. The charges are regulated on the basis of a mandatory annual consultation of users by the operator concerning the proposed charges and conditions for the forthcoming year. When making its proposal, the operator provides the users with a statement of the level of service to be provided as measured by the indicators stipulated in the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol Operation Decree. The NMa Office of Transport Regulation exercises supervision on the basis of complaints from users on whether the charges have been arrived at in accordance with the statutory requirements. By law, the charges for all airport activities have to be transparent. This also applies to the revenue from activities that are directly associated with the aviation activities at the airport that are factored into the charges. For this purpose, the operator is required to keep separate accounts for the airport activities, including subaccounts for the costs of security relating to passengers and their baggage and the revenue generated by security charges. For the income and expenses of these activities, the operator has implemented an industry-standard allocation system that is proportionate and comprehensive. The NMa Office of Transport Regulation, after consulting the airlines, approved the allocation system in 2010.
  • The other line of supervision involves the ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment and relates to the operation of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, for which a licence has been granted pursuant to Section 8.25 of the Aviation Act. The operator reports to the minister on the operation of the airport at least once every three years, with special reference to capital expenditure that is important to the development of the airport. This report was issued for the first time in 2008 and again in 2011. Based on information obtained from the operator, the minister makes an assessment of whether the airport is being mismanaged in a way which could jeopardise its continuity. The ability to foster the mainport status of the airport, to the extent that the operator is able to influence that status, is particularly dependent on the development of the airport infrastructure in the medium and long term.


The Aviation Act also provides for the exchange of information between the two regulators to avoid the need for the operator to provide the same information more than once.