Touching Bases: New bizav center planned for Amsterdam

 - August 5, 2008, 8:28 AM

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport will get a new business aviation terminal next year. The modestly sized 7,850-sq-ft building is to be constructed by the airport authority on the east side of the Dutch gateway, replacing the existing executive terminal. The facility could be open by the first quarter of next year.

The new terminal will be shared by Amsterdam’s existing two FBOs–KLM General Aviation and the newly formed Amsterdam Jet Center (AJC), which opened for business at Schiphol in April. AJC has already signed an option to occupy up to 3,200 sq ft in the terminal.

However, according to KLM General Aviation manager Joop Wansbeek, final negotiations are still being held with the airport over the timing for the opening of the new building and the rents to be paid by the FBOs. The subsidiary of Dutch flag carrier KLM would like the airport to take more time to design and build the terminal and is also unhappy about lease terms.

Schiphol’s management is building the new executive terminal despite the fact that it would prefer to minimize the amount of business aviation traffic at the busy hub. According to AJC managing director Aad Ruijgrok, European Union rules on airport access have prevented the airport from imposing a complete ban on business aviation, but it has continued to restrict the availability of slots to nonscheduled operators.

The airport said it intends to eliminate virtually all business aircraft movements between 10:25 p.m. and 7 a.m. as part of its bid to appease political pressure to reduce night-time noise. It prefers night movements to be by large airliners carrying many passengers.

Last March Schiphol introduced a procedure that allows all general aviation operators to use the airport outside peak times without applying for a slot. Through notams, operators are advised of the “time brackets” in which there are gaps between scheduled slots that can be used on an ad hoc basis. However, these are subject to change at short notice, with airlines being given clear priority to request late slots. Outside these time brackets, GA operators still have to apply for ad hoc slots through the airport’s slot coordinator or operations department.

According to KLM’s Wansbeek, there are barely enough business aircraft at Schiphol to support two FBOs. Ruijgrok acknowledged that trading conditions have been tight since he opened AJC, but insisted that the injection of competition has stimulated fresh interest in using Amsterdam’s main airport.

AJC is owned by the established Rotterdam Jet Center (RJC), which is the sole FBO at Rotterdam Airport, 40 miles to the southeast. Ruijgrok told AIN that RJC has seen a 20-percent increase in traffic in recent months, with increasing numbers of larger corporate aircraft flying in from North America and Asia. In addition to serving the busy port and industrial city of Rotterdam, the airport is well placed for the Dutch capital, The Hague.

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport has been trying to encourage business aircraft operators to use Lelystad Airport, located about 30 miles northeast of downtown Amsterdam. Lelystad, which is owned by Schiphol, offers a 4,100-foot runway and a Cat I ILS.