Schiphol’s Zwanenburgbaan Runway out of use until April due major maintenance

Aerial view of the Tower at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.
Photo Credit: Ikreis, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

LONDON – From Monday 2 January until mid-April, Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS) will be carrying out major maintenance on the Zwanenburgbaan Runway. With the runway now over half a century old, this is a major maintenance program.

During this period of works, the runway will not be available to air traffic. The closure will have an impact on aircraft noise in the area. 

The major maintenance works


The Zwanenburgbaan Runway was constructed in the 1960s. During this period of major maintenance, works that needs to be performed every 40 to 60 years will be carried out.

The runway asphalt – with a surface area equal to 86 football pitches – will be completely renewed. During this process, 60% of the asphalt will be recycled. 

Schiphol is also renewing 12,000 square metres of runway markings and replacing 60 kilometres of guttering and outlets around the runway.

All the runway lighting and electric cables that go with it are being replaced by a more sustainable and reliable LED lighting installation.

That’s almost 6,400 lights and 450 kilometres of cabling. In addition, the runway control station and the rainwater drainage system are being given an upgrade.

The works are being carried out in collaboration with construction company Heijmans. Every day, around 166 people will be working on the Zwanenburgbaan Runway. 

Above: Schiphol runway layout. Image Credit: NielsB CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Changes to runway use 


Aircraft that would usually take off from or land on the Zwanenburgbaan Runway will make more frequent use of the Buitenveldertbaan Runway during this period.

Additionally, the Schiphol-Oostbaan Runway may be used for landings and a small portion of flights will be moved to the Kaagbaan Runway. 

The Zwanenburgbaan Runway is sometimes deployed in a southerly direction at night when the Kaagbaan Runway is unavailable (due to minor maintenance or the wind and weather conditions).

During this period of works, night-time air traffic can make use of the Aalsmeerbaan Runway as an alternative if necessary. 

The basic premise is that the Aalsmeerbaan Runway should be deployed as little as possible at night, only when there is no other option. Schiphol will even move the night-time minor maintenance on the Kaagbaan Runway to another moment in the same week if need be. 

Works on the Instrument Landing System 


During and after the major maintenance, Air Traffic Control the Netherlands (LVNL) will be replacing the Zwanenburgbaan Runway’s Instrument Landing System (ILS). An ILS helps aircraft make a gradual curved approach towards the runway.

After completion of the major maintenance the Zwanenburg Runway can be used as a runway, except at times of poor visibility.

In that case, the Zwanenburg Runway cannot be deployed for landings from a southerly direction in the six weeks following the major maintenance (expected until the end of June).

Some of the works on the ILS, such as measurements to check the proper functioning of the system, can only be carried out after major maintenance has been completed.

During these measurements on the runway and from the air with a special aircraft, the runway is not available for air traffic.

The measurements take several hours at a time and are scheduled during the day and at night on different days in May. The exact days and times will be announced in advance. 

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Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
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