msterdam Airport Schiphol is considered the gold standard of 21st century airport cities, the one frequently cited as the paradigm by airport executives hoping to turn their own facilities into engines of regional economic growth. Well over 60,000 people work at nearly 70 businesses sited at or adjacent to Schiphol, from aerospace companies to air cargo and logistics specialists to global IT and financial services companies. Lodging, entertainment and other service-sector players are in ample supply, and educational institutions and R&D centers are close by. The Amsterdam city center is just nine miles (15 km.) away, but Schiphol bustles on its own, with the added advantage of runways and transportation links to points worldwide.
Two new development initiatives are now in the works that will deepen Schiphol's credentials as a center for aerospace-related commerce and logistics. Aerospace Exchange at Schiphol-East is a €20-million (US$27-million) plan to develop infrastructure "to optimize accessibility and give the area a true aerospace identity," says Paul ven den Brink, international marketing director at the Schiphol Area Development Co. The second is Amsterdam Connecting Trade (ACT), a new logistics hub with the 111-acre (45-hectare) Schiphol Logistics Park; the 420-acre (170-hectare) A4 Zone West area for logistics activities, marketing, showrooms and other facilities; and proximity to Schiphol SmartGate Cargo, a new public-private entity for facilitating cross-border movement of goods from points in Europe through Schiphol.
Ready for Occupancy
Several projects in the Aerospace Exchange development already are well under way. These include a new General Aviation (GA) Terminal for business- and private-jet passengers that is scheduled to open this year, and a new headquarters for Transavia.com, a low-cost airline subsidiary of Air France-KLM Group, and Martinair. The latter is the first LEED-Platinum certified office building in the Netherlands.
In April 2010, Bombardier Aerospace selected a site at Schiphol for its new European Service Centre, where it will perform MRO services for its European business-jet customers operating a combined fleet of more than 400 planes, including Bombardier's Learjet, Challenger and Global aircraft families. The facility will potentially grow to a work force of 170 by 2013. Bombardier, the third-largest civil aircraft manufacturer, signed a three-year contract with Martinair for the sublease of Hangar 4 (approximately 9,000 sq. m. or 97,000 sq. ft.) at Schiphol-East. In addition, it signed a letter of intent with Schiphol Real Estate (SRE) for the development of a custom-designed, dedicated Bombardier centre at Schiphol Aerospace Exchange (Schiphol-East), to be completed in 2012.
"After a long and thorough decision-making process, looking at 40 different airports in Europe, we have opted for Amsterdam Airport Schiphol as the European base for our customer service center," said Michael McQuay, president of Bombardier Aircraft Service Centres. "This new center will create an amazing customer experience giving us an additional advantage over our competitors."
Europe is Bombardier's second-largest market after North America, and the company expects continued growth there over the next five years. It will be in good company. "The development of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol as an airport and business location began in 1916, with the first-ever flight at Schiphol-East," says Maarten de Groof, executive vice president and chief commercial officer at Schiphol Group. "Today, under the name of Schiphol Aerospace Exchange, this area focuses on technology, knowledge, training and information. Schiphol-East is home to companies and training institutes in the civil aviation and aerospace industries, including aircraft and other maintenance business for companies such as KLM and Boeing."
ACT was formalized in June 2008 by local development agencies and Schiphol Group to make Amsterdam one of Europe's top three sustainable air cargo and logistics hubs. Specifically, the agreement calls for "a clever infrastructural design, an efficient and sustainable spatial set-up, a high quality of life, guaranteed diversity of people and activities, and a comprehensive range of logistics solutions."
Several logistics companies have taken the bait. On August 30, 2010, Rhenus Logistics assumed occupancy of a new freight facility in Schiphol Southeast, one of ACT's business parks, from Schiphol Real Estate. The building has about 81,000 sq. ft. (7,500 sq. m.) of operational space for first- and second-line transshipment activities and 30,000 sq. ft. (2,800 sq. m.) of office space.
Rhenus' new premises are part of its strategy to operate the entire air freight and handling process more efficiently and to cut costs. It was designed and built in response to the initiatives taken by Customs and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol aimed at operating the entire air-freight process according to the 'Green Lane' principle within three years.
Under this system, most incoming consignments and goods can be transshipped without delay, saving significant time and money. The new freight building will house the air freight forwarding activities of Rhenus Air, KDS Cargo, Racon Air and Copex Air.