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Main risks

The ten main risks have been classified into four categories in accordance with the COSO-ERM directives:

  • Strategic
  • Operational
  • Financial
  • Compliance

Strategic risks

A > Demand fluctuations

The risk of unexpected fluctuations in demand, in our case, the number of air transport movements, the number of passengers and cargo volumes in particular, can result in a shortage or a surplus of capacity. This also has an effect on profitability, which in such cases increases or decreases to the same degree.

The continuing economic crisis that may lead to a decrease in the number of passengers, lower spending per passenger, a reduction of capacity at airlines and a change in the dynamics of the sector, forms a major threat. Other developments that may have an effect are those in the area of politics, laws and regulations, technology and competition. Schiphol is sensitive to changes in demand, in particular due to its dependence on a limited number of large customers.

Control measures

  • Short-term and long-term scenario-based planning

  • Monitoring of external trends and developments

  • Improved flexibility as a result of the outsourcing of activities

  • A modular investment plan

B > Competition

Insufficient investment in quality and capacity may result in the inability to ensure a healthy competitive position. Especially in the area of transfer traffic, competition from other major hubs in Europe and the Middle East that are making substantial investments in infrastructure and quality improvement, has increased. We are also facing greater competition in our catchment area in terms of OD traffic. Our non-aviation activities, such as parking, retail and real estate, are experiencing competition from parties in Schiphol’s immediate environment.


Control measures

  • Timely investment in infrastructure in close consultation with airlines

  • Carrying out competition analyses

  • Client Relationship Management

  • Airline Reward Programme and marketing activities

  • Expanding the range of shops, products and facilities


C > Market developments in real estate

Changing market conditions can lead to lower occupancy of the property portfolio and lower rents resulting in fair value losses. This risk is increased by the high concentration of property for the aviation sector and our dependence on a number of large customers.



Control measures

  • Monitoring of market conditions and current prospects.
  • Semi-annual assessments of the property portfolio, each time performed by different appraisers
  • Developing projects only on the basis of minimum pre-sale requirements
  • Maintaining the appeal of the location and the portfolio by means of timely renovations and redevelopment

D > Economic regulation

Our aviation activities are subject to economic regulation, which means that our return on investment is capped. As a consequence of placing too much emphasis on a lower level of cost, for example in the evaluation of the Aviation Act, investments in capacity and quality may be structurally lower, which will have a negative effect on the competitive position and service level of Mainport Schiphol.

Control measures

  • Modular investment plans
  • Regular contact with Dutch Competition Authority NMa
  • Participating in discussions with the government on regulation


E > Changing laws and regulations

Political developments and changes in standpoints and European or national laws and regulations can have a major impact on our business. Examples include the sale of consumer products at the airport and changes in laws and regulations in the field of security that could lead to major operational adjustments and higher security costs.

Control measures

  • Participation in various consultative bodies
  • Ongoing dialogue with all stakeholders
  • Monitoring of legislative developments
  • Monitoring and influencing political and non-political decision-making processes 

F > Major projects

In the coming years, several major projects (Master Plan, central security non-Schengen, Departure Lounge 2, Hilton Hotel) will be implemented concurrently. This results in substantial project risks: delays and budget overruns. In that event, the original project assumptions could no longer apply, as a result of which the project is no longer sufficiently in line with demand.


Control measures

  • Specialised project management department
  • External benchmarks with regard to the implementation of major projects
  • Applying a standardised method for the implementation of major projects


G > International operations

Conducting business abroad offers benefits and opportunities but also involves specific risks that do not apply in the Netherlands.


Control measures

  • Limiting risks to local subsidiaries
  • Competent local management and engaging reputable local advisors
  • Maintaining good relationships with local airport authorities
  • Extensive attention to financial instruments and valuation of participations

Operational risks

H > Operational risks aviation


Safety and security

Inadequate security or safety measures increase the risk of operational disruptions and the risk of incidents or accidents with possibly serious consequences for passengers, local residents and employees of companies at Schiphol.

Control measures

  • Safety management systems
  • Training and drills
  • Investing in innovations (such as security scan)
  • Assessing the execution of security controls through random checks
  • Operational safety training for employees

Unexpected business interruptions

Extreme weather conditions or natural phenomena, fire, pandemics, aircraft accidents and technical or power failures can disrupt business processes which, in turn, could seriously affect airport operations, the financial result and future prospects.

  • Company emergency plans and procedures.
  • Emergency measures
  • Prepared and well-trained staff
  • Insurances

Dependence on third parties

The airport depends to a large extent on the efforts and equipment of third parties, including government authorities, the Dutch Border Police (Koninklijke Marechaussee), Dutch Customs and industry partners, such as the airlines and handling agents. Strikes, business interruptions or unethical behaviour of external parties could disrupt operations, damage our reputation and negatively affect the financial result.

  • Keeping covenants and agreements up to date and good mutual relationships and contacts with external parties
  • Screening of external parties
  • Adequate coordination and contract management

Financial risks

I > Market risk, liquidity risk and counterparty risk

Schiphol Group faces a variety of financial risks, such as currency, price and interest rate risks, liquidity risks and counterparty risk. Schiphol also attaches great importance to preserving its creditworthiness: the loss of its A rating may lead to reduced access to financing and higher borrowing costs.


Control measures

  • Maintaining a sufficient liquidity position
  • Proactive refinancing strategy
  • Balanced distribution of loans and repayments
  • Monitoring of creditworthiness (Standard & Poor’s A rating) to ensure access to capital markets
  • Limiting currency and interest rate risks
  • Monitoring counterparty creditworthiness (minimum Standard & Poor’s A rating)

Compliance risks

J > Exceeding noise and environmental standards

We are required to comply with complex national and international noise and environmental regulations. Although we have little influence on the drafting of these regulations, any breaches of the standards can have negative financial and operational consequences.

Control measures

  • Monitoring of noise and emissions
  • Collaboration with regulatory authorities and executive bodies
  • Differentiation of charges and operational measures aimed at the selective use of night-time capacity and the scarce environmental capacity