Schiphol ready for all-change

Tough times for the airfreight industry, but for Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Europe's third largest cargo airport, the current upheavals in the industry are an opportunity to make long term strategic changes.

“This is clearly a financial crisis like we’ve never seen,” starts Ad Rutten, executive VP and COO of the Schiphol Group. “We all know in the cargo world that business is down, its been down since the summer. The only thing we can predict is that everything will change and nothing will be the same,” he adds.

It is this ‘all-change’ environment that Schiphol – which handled a total of 1.61 million tonnes of air cargo last year – has fi rmly grasped as it charts its strategic growth going forward.

The airport group’s bold strategy is most clearly visible in its announcement a few months ago that it is entering into a long-term, and potentially farreaching cooperative arrangement with the French Aéroports de Paris group. The French airport group includes the 14 civil airports and airfields in the ÃŽle-de-France (Paris) area. Among its notable airports are Charles de Gaulle International Airport, Orly Airport and Le Bourget Airport.

So was this simply a response to competitive pressure, or a protective response to the crumbling global economic situation? Neither, according to Rutten, who says the move was far more strategic in nature and more informed by larger trends within the aircargo industry.