Amsterdam Airport Schiphol ( /ˈʃɪpɒl/; Dutch: Luchthaven Schiphol, Dutch pronunciation: [ˈlʏxtˌɦaːvə(n) ˈsxɪpɦɔl]) (IATA: AMS, ICAO: EHAM) is the Netherlands' main international airport, located 20 minutes (4.9 NM (9.1 km; 5.6 mi)) southwest of Amsterdam, in the municipality of Haarlemmermeer. The airport's official English name, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, reflects the original Dutch word order (Luchthaven Schiphol). The airport used to have the IATA code of SPL, which has fallen into disuse and has been replaced by AMS. The airport is the primary hub for KLM, Martinair, Transavia, Amsterdam Airlines and Arkefly. The airport also serves as a European hub for Delta Air Lines. It is considered to be an Airport City.
Schiphol is an important European airport, ranking as Europe’s 5th largest and the world's 20th largest by total passenger traffic. It also ranks as the world’s 6th largest by international passenger traffic and the world’s 17th largest for cargo tonnage.
45.3 million passengers passed through the airport in 2010, a 4% increase compared with 2009.
Schiphol's main competitors in terms of passenger traffic and cargo throughput are London Heathrow Airport, Frankfurt Airport, Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport and Madrid-Barajas Airport.
In 2009, around 67% of passengers using the airport flew to and from Europe, 12% to and from North America and around 9% to and from Asia; cargo volume was mainly between Schiphol and Asia (45%) and North America (16%).
In 2009 direct passenger flights were operated to 265 destinations, with a further 19 freighter-only routes. The airport is one out of eight airports in the world to have a rating of four or more stars in Skytrax's grading system.
Schiphol has six runways, one of which is used mainly by general aviation aircraft. The northern end of the Polderbaan, the name of last runway to be constructed, is 7 km north of the control tower, causing lengthy taxi times (up to 20 min) to the terminal. Plans have been made for a seventh runway.
The airport is built as one large terminal, split into three large departure halls, which converge again once airside. The most recent of these was completed in 1994, and expanded in 2007 with a new part, named Terminal 4, although this part is not recognised as a separate building. Plans for further terminal expansion exist, including the construction of a separate new terminal between the Zwanenburgbaan and Polderbaan runways that would end the one-terminal concept.
Because of intense traffic and high landing fees, some low cost carriers decided to move their flights to smaller airports, such as Rotterdam The Hague Airport and Eindhoven Airport. Many low cost carriers (like EasyJet or Bmibaby) continue to operate from Schiphol, using the low-cost H-pier.
Schiphol is the home base of KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines), Arkefly, Martinair, Amsterdam Airlines and Transavia.
The Schiphol Air traffic control tower, with a height of 101 metres (331 ft), was the tallest in the world when constructed in 1991. Schiphol is geographically one of the world's lowest major commercial airports. The entire airport is below sea level; the lowest point sits at 11 feet (3.4 m) below sea level (or 4.5 feet (1.4 m) below the Dutch Normaal Amsterdams Peil (NAP)); the runways are around 3 metres (9.8 ft) below NAP.
Schiphol is equipped with 18 double jetway gates in preparation for airlines introducing the Airbus A380 to date none have. Malaysian Airlines are expected to do so in 2012.