Minister for the Environment
“2016 is the year of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. A hundred years ago, three small single-engine planes landed on a bumpy field with four wooden sheds on it. These days, over 58 million passengers pass through the airport every year, involving over 450,000 air transport movements. With 322 destinations, Schiphol connects the Netherlands with the rest of the world. It is an indispensable factor for our economy, but the airport is also crucial for connecting people, cultures, knowledge and science. We can be proud of Schiphol, also because we have managed to achieve growth in a densely populated area in which large numbers of people wish to live, work and visit comfortably. Schiphol would not have been able to develop in this way without close consultation with local stakeholders. The new environmental standards which we are currently working on involve a clever balancing act.
Although the past creates confidence, this must never change to blind faith. Growth should not be taken for granted. The development of the Asian market and the emergence of the Gulf states are shifting the balance in the global aviation sector. Major new airlines are coming onto the market, not to mention new hub airports. All of our pioneering spirit and our innovative and collaborative capacity will be required to ensure the sustainable future of our own aviation. Even if we cannot be the largest, we can still be the best, most innovative and most sustainable airport. This year, I will therefore be working with Schiphol and many other parties to draw up a ‘Schiphol Action Agenda’ to determine which steps we should take in the short and long term. This is the year of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, in which we reflect on the past but work towards the future.”