Amsterdam Schiphol to lose single terminal conceptCreate Topic

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    Ever since it opened in 1967 Schiphol has prided itself on its one terminal concept.

    But over the years that single terminal has had to be expanded over and over again to cope with demand.

    And as the terminal has grown in size, with more and more piers, it has taken longer to transfer between flights. And yet another pier will open in 2019.

    Now comes news that five design teams have presented their designs for a second terminal which is scheduled to open in 2023. The winning design will be chosen in September.

    More info from Belgium’s

    Design teams present new Amsterdam Airport Schiphol terminal



    Schiphol has announced its second terminal. It will become operational in 2023. Report by

    Amsterdam Airport Schiphol presents new terminal



    I ought to clarify that it was thought originally that Schiphol would lose its single terminal.

    But this new design will enable the single terminal to be retained.

    Not sure what our readers will think of the new plan. In some ways it’s good but in others it does mean some transfers will take longer and/or be more awkward.



    What would be more awkward? They retain the single terminal concept with a Schengen and a non-Schengen part. From what I have seen of the chosen design no changes will be made to the concept. None of the concepts presented by the way would have broken with the single terminal concept. At least not the ones I saw in the Dutch press.

    Schiphol has a rapidly growing number of passengers per year and the operator is accommodating this. It is impressive to see that a 1960s concept is still valid today and offers room for expansion. That is a tribute of the visionary view they had then.

    And would a transfer take more time? Probably some would require some more walking, or actually using the moving walkways. For most of the transfers I expect hardly any difference.

    What would be interesting is to get a glimpse of the projected growth in passenger number Schiphol management projects.



    I don’t believe in a single terminal concept for a large airport as it involves inevitably huge walks. Add to this a border control in the middle and you have what AMS became. I prefer by far the structure LHR T5 adopted, that has proven its efficiency in one of the world busiest airports, ATL.



    Schiphol was designed and built for transfer passengers. In the 1960s it was of course a different era, a time when IATA (and all its restrictive policies) ruled and when any IATA fare allowed passengers to make en route changes (provided the passenger did not exceed the IATA mileage limit).

    Today’s Schiphol is handling different traffic flows. Foreign airlines are increasing in number and especially those operating long-haul.

    More and more passengers are using Schiphol on a point-to-point basis and this traffic is growing owing to the arrival of LCCs.

    So one would hope that KLM and its fellow Skyteam members/codeshare partners will occupy a specific area of the terminal to make transfers easier. And one would hope that the point-to-point carriers would then occupy a separate zone (as some do already) as their passengers are, except for a handful, not making connections.



    “I don’t believe in a single terminal concept for a large airport as it involves inevitably huge walks. Add to this a border control in the middle and you have what AMS became. I prefer by far the structure LHR T5 adopted,”

    Is T5 (LHR) a single terminal (even as part of a large international airport) concept or a single terminal with 2 adjoining terminals?

    Multi terminal airport transfers also involve long walks, train rides, rentry into the system and/or badly designed transfer points. Key for designers is the ability to move passengers from point of arrival (whether kerbside or gate) to point of departure (whether a departure gate or train station) as quickly and hassle free as possible.

    There is a very interesting documentary about Fra airport, who employ a Flow control specialist.

    Here is something for you all to try, which apparently is very relevant in passenger flow control (shown in the video)

    If you are walking towards a European, you will generally pass to the right… if you are walking towards an Asian, you will generally pass to the left…. – try it and you will be surprised… and not just in airports…



    Well I’m not sure I agree with you there Martyn, having just come back from a week in Hong Kong where I expected to walk past people on the left, but often found myself moving to the right.



    Imagine having to walk from the far right to the end of the new pier. It’s more like a marathon especially if they want to maintain their 40 minute connection times.

    I’m sure there will be moving walkways and perhaps a tunnel connecting the two extremes such as at Frankfurt.


    Alex McWhirter

    The Design Air has published more info today. The enlarged terminal looks large. Apparently the design of the new section of terminal resembles the forthcoming T3 at FRA.

    Amsterdam Schiphol Airport Selects New Terminal Design Amongst Strong Competition



    Well, just forget FRA (unless you are flying First) as it remains by far the worst hub in Europe, and another example of a single terminal failure (that it is in facts). Then it is a matter of choice: walking, bus or train. I undoubtedly prefer the latter. CDG E (AF) and LHR T5 adopted this approach (not a single terminal indeed Martyn) which make both airports great hubs.



    @Swissdiver – I don’t think FRA is a failure – its just a hassle. If the staff were more helpful, welcoming and polite, it would make a BIG difference. If you are transiting within the same terminal (presume T1 is the same as T2) there is no need to go through a transit zone, so this makes it far easier.



    You are right, Martyn, provided you do not need to go through customs or security. If you arrive for instance at A42 and leave from say Z40, you’ll walk forever (A=Z, but on another floor to separate Schengen from non-Schengen) going back and forth to the central transit zone.



    My question here is – what constitutes a terminal?

    Let’s take HKG – according to the Airport Authority, they have Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. In reality these are separate check-in areas, housed in separate buildings (separated by the access road and the Airport Express but otherwise contiguous) – but anyone who checks in at Terminal 2 (and follows the signs) goes through an underground tunnel and security check and surfaces in the same place that they would do if they checked in at Terminal 1. However, their flight may leave from the 200 gates or from the 500 gates, both of which are in separate buildings, in the former case accessible only by train and in the latter case only by bus. So how many terminals does HKG really have? 5 (check-in area 1, check-in area 2, main departure gate building, satellite gate departure building and mid-field gate departure building), or 2 (check-in area 1 and check-in area 2), or 3 (main departure gate building, satellite gate departure building and mid-field gate departure building)?

    Let’s take Heathrow as a comparator. Four stated terminal buildings – 2, 3, 4 and 5. But three satellite terminal buildings – T2B, T5B and T5C. Is that a four-terminal airport, or a seven-terminal airport?

    Personally I think we should look at this from two perspectives – originating passengers and transit passengers.

    In LHR, as an originating passenger- even if you check in online – you have to present yourself at the appropriate terminal in order to get to your gate. No big deal, although if arriving by public transport it may require a change from one train to another or from train to bus etc. As a transit passenger, you either have to go through the full arrivals process and then transfer to the new terminal, or follow a different route from destination passengers and transfer to the new terminal. Either way it definitely feels like a multi-terminal set-up. With the exception of the lounges in Terminal 5A, it is difficult to enter one lounge and the transfer to another terminal area and still enjoy lounge access.

    In the HKG context, check-in areas are more or less contiguous, and the walk between Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 is short. If you have checked in on-line, you can go straight to the security zone in Terminal 1 (or, at your choice, take the more circuitous route through Terminal 2). It works much more like a single-terminal airport. If you need to go to a departure gate that isn’t in the main building, it doesn’t matter whether you checked in at Terminal 1 or Terminal 2, the transfer will be the same. If you are a transit passenger, then you will go through any of several transit points which have security at the transit point (not at the subsequent terminal where your gate is located), and again you then go to wherever your departure gate is located. In either case this may require a train (gates 34+ or the 200+ gates) or a bus (500+ gates). In either case, you can visit lounges along your route (most likely in the main building) and then move on to your next stage. Again, it works much more like a single-terminal airport.

    Another contrast – KLIA. A train links the KUL “main” terminal (mostly regional flights) and “satellite” terminal (mostly long-haul) and you can freely shuttle back and forth between them on the train whether arriving, transiting or departing, and enjoy all the facilities of both. There is a single check-in area. Is that one terminal, or two?

    One final comparator – BKK, which is a true one-terminal airport. However, the layout is such that transiting is a nightmare – transit points often at inconvenient places requiring a lot of doubling-back, relatively few travellators, and endless walks from one pier to another.

    The real question is what the experience is like either an an originating, terminating, or transiting passenger. Even within HK’s one main terminal building it can take a long time to get from one end to another, just as a function of its size, but it is well laid-out with an internal train from the base of the Y-shape configuration to the junction of the three limbs of the Y, and travellators throughout.

    Terminals, as such, only aggravate problems that already exist. The lack of a multi-terminal structure doesn’t, however, eliminate the problems.



    Personally I think we should look at this from two perspectives – originating passengers and transit passengers.

    I don’t see any other possible approach. And it is difficult to satisfy both simultaneously. I think BA made it with T5 (but there are still some flights from T3…) as AF, at CDG. Both adopted the ladder approach, following ATL. It works.

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