Schiphol TV coverage Schiphol New Year's reception
Speech by Jos Nijhuis, CEO and President of Schiphol Group at the Schiphol New Year’s gathering 7 January 2013
(Only the spoken text is official)
Allow me to welcome you all to Schiphol and express my appreciation for your presence here today.
Speaking on behalf of myself, Els, Ad and Maarten, I would like to wish you all a happy and prosperous 2013. We greatly appreciate the fact that all of you accepted our invitation, representing a total of some 200 different companies, organisations and government bodies. Directly or indirectly, you are all linked to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.
If it weren’t for you, we would not be able to carry out our mission. As a service providing company, we must make sure our home carrier KLM and the other airlines at Schiphol can connect the Netherlands with the rest of the world. Everything we do is in service of the Mainport.
We’ve had our fair share of complaints from language purists who feel the word ‘Mainport’ isn’t proper English.
The answer is simple, though: it’s a Dutch term, not an English one.
So, what does this ‘Mainport’ consist of, exactly?
To begin with, I should explain that it consists of three components.
• At its heart lies a strong KLM/Skyteam network.
• This network is facilitated by a high-quality hub airport with a solid reputation amongst passengers and other customers, and the strength to hold its own against tough international competition.
• Finally, our operations are located in an attractive, liveable environment that appeals to both local residents and businesses.
These three elements are inextricably linked. As I am sure you already know, they represent the core of Schiphol’s identity: network, infrastructure and environment.
Here in the Netherlands, we tend to refer to ‘the Mainport’ in somewhat distanced terms, as if it is a merely logistical concept.
But what is its real significance?
Ladies and gentlemen, the Mainport is the living, beating heart of the Netherlands.
It is the organ responsible for circulation and growth. For life and development.
A Mainport represents freedom. The freedom to connect with the entire world.
A Mainport also represents work, a crucial factor in an age when so many young people are in desperate search of a job. We employ 62,000 people at Schiphol alone and generate work for up to 290,000 people, all included.
A Mainport represents opportunities for people, both close to home and far away. For example, did you know that UNICEF uses Schiphol to supply medicine to children in over 50 countries?
A Mainport, in other words, brings both prosperity and wellbeing.
Clearly, we must do what we can to protect the vital interests of our Mainport. After all, it is the beating heart that keeps the Netherlands moving in these economically challenging times.
Let’s be frank: 2013 is shaping up to be a challenging year that will require a strong, concerted effort.
We are all aware of the shifting global balance, following the rise of Asia and the Gulf region.
We know about the tough competition facing our home carrier and indeed every other airline at Schiphol.
We realise we are on the verge of several critical decisions that will affect us all.
We have every reason, in other words, to hold onto each other for support and focus on the interests of the Netherlands’ beating heart: the Mainport.
I said: hold onto each other for support.
I did not mean: stand still together.
In this day and age we need a decisive approach.
No reckless adventures.
No unrealistic dreams.
We must simply work together to take the necessary steps, and do so in a calm, controlled manner, on the basis of close consultation.
This is what it will take to keep our Mainport healthy in the years to come.
In 2011, KLM and the other airlines helped us achieve a 10 per cent growth in passenger numbers.
Last year – as the economy contracted – we still achieved a respectable 2.6 per cent: which is more than we had been expecting.
These are growth figures other industries can only dream of.
We also surpassed the 50-million-passenger milestone. In fact, the total now stands at 51 million!
Our network grew from 313 to 317 direct destinations.
In line with expectations, cargo volumes saw a minor decline.
Overall, though, the Mainport certainly held its own.
An interesting development is the cooperation between Air France-KLM, Etihad and Air Berlin, which will be intensified this year. This cooperation will improve the entrance to the markets of India and the Middle East.
Let’s join forces to ensure that our Mainport remains robust in future. This will require both cooperation and investments. Controlled and prudent investments in tumultuous times. Step by step.
These investments will be crucial if we are to continue meeting the justifiable demands of our airlines and passengers. Our customers, after all, want Schiphol to keep supplying the quality and capacity they need in future.
This year will see the start of our transition towards centralised security throughout the entire airport. This will ensure greater comfort for passengers and help airlines offer efficient, high-quality services, all within the framework of current European legislation.
This far-reaching operation will affect a large section of our airport, spanning Piers E, F and G and their connecting areas. I promise you that we will do everything in our power to minimise annoyance for all our users, but do ask for your understanding and flexibility.
I look forward to starting work in close consultation with KLM and our other partners. The transition effort will be completed in 2015.
This represents the first phase of the Master Plan. Instead of opting for a flashy exterior that is merely designed to impress, we aim to create a characteristic, qualitative environment based around a human sense of scale. We will be developing the subsequent phase – including the expansion of our existing pier network – in consultation with the airlines.
Then there’s the construction of the new Hilton – a wonderful hotel that will certainly help strengthen the Mainport’s appeal to business travellers.
Finally, we will soon be the first European airport to introduce electric bus transportation on airside. The tender procedure is currently underway.
We are taking this measure on the basis of our strong commitment to people, the environment and our surroundings.
That is why it is good that the aviation sector, local residents and regional organisations came together to reach new agreements as part of the Alders platform. Measures to restrict the number of night flights will have far-reaching consequences, especially for the airlines involved. However, these steps are necessary in order to
ensure the liveability of our surrounding area. A Mainport, after all, can only flourish in a strong, attractive region. Our ability to find common solutions even in difficult times is a sign of genuine strength.
Ladies and gentlemen, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is the focus of constant attention. Every day, we are under scrutiny from passengers, airlines, government authorities, local residents, special interests groups and the media alike. You are all Schiphol-watchers.
In my view, this is a good thing.
Such scrutiny suits any company with a public function.
So please continue to cast a critical eye over our activities in future.
Naturally, such continual observation will accentuate the smallest blemish and irregularity. However, our organisation is strong enough to withstand such critical analysis, which can only help us do better in future.
Still, it’s also important not to lose sight of the bigger framework.
In 2012, Schiphol was named International Airport of the Year.
In 2012, passengers and other airports named us Europe’s best airport.
2012 also saw us rated ‘best cargo airport’ by our Asian customers.
Last but not least, we are also the least costly of Europe’s major airports…
Our success in 2012 has many fathers and mothers.
In addition to Schiphol Group, the credit goes to the Mainport as a whole, and all the parties working to further improve its performance.
The most crucial party in this equation is KLM. Our home carrier, which was once again named super sector leader in the 2012 Dow Jones Sustainability Index.
The Mainport is a joint effort.
Demonstrating our common ambitions will be crucial, especially in these economically challenging times.
Working with KLM and our other partners, we will continue to fight for a strong, healthy hub, in the interests of the Netherlands. That’s the essence.
We also need to ensure that this hub is easily accessible by land. All too often, the trains at and around Schiphol are grounded. We are currently discussing this issue with the various stakeholders.
This day and age calls for a bundling of strengths.
Unity is truly our most crucial asset.
2013 should be the year of partnership and trust.
Let’s do away with the doom and gloom!
The Netherlands is a wonderful country exploding with talent.
If there’s one thing we need, it’s a common goal to rally behind: let’s work together to pull the Netherlands out of the crisis. Let’s get its blood flowing. Together, we can make this a vibrant country again!
We’re ready to take on that challenge, and I have no doubt your contributions and efforts will help us succeed.
Let’s work together to make this an outstanding, successful year.
I’m looking forward to it!
Schiphol TV Record aantal reizigers op Schiphol in 2012
Schiphol TV Jaaroverzicht 2012