Schiphol Group is an enterprise that operates airports in the Netherlands, conducts international activities and participates in airports abroad. Operating Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is the Group's largest activity. Schiphol Group is the owner and operator of Rotterdam The Hague Airport and Lelystad Airport, and holds a majority share in Eindhoven Airport.
Of Europe's main hub airports, over the years Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has grown into Europe's Preferred Airport, with direct connections to 319 destinations. In 2014 the number of travellers served by Schiphol grew by 4.6% to almost 55 million, and 1.6 million tonnes of cargo were handled. More than five hundred companies are based at Schiphol, employing around 65,000 people in total. The activities at and around Schiphol are an important driver of the sustainable growth of the Dutch economy.
As a whole, the Group welcomed nearly 61 million passengers at its Dutch airports. The number of travellers served by Rotterdam The Hague Airport and Eindhoven Airport grew by 6.1% and as much as 16% respectively.
Schiphol Group has four shareholders: the Dutch state (69.8%), the municipality of Amsterdam (20.0%), Aéroports de Paris (8.0%) and the municipality of Rotterdam (2.2%). The company aims to achieve a reasonable return on its equity based on moderate increments in airport charges and a stable dividend distribution trend. We invest in the infrastructure and facilities at our airports on the basis of a sound financial policy aimed at safeguarding our full independence in the financing of these assets, both today and in the future.
Schiphol Group collaborates closely with foreign airports which can strengthen its position, including the airports operated by Aéroports de Paris, a company in which we have an 8% cross-participation. In addition, we are involved in Terminal 4 at JFK International Airport in New York, are engaged in a strategic collaboration with Incheon Airport, have an interest in Brisbane Airport and conduct operations at the airports of Hong Kong and Aruba. In all, these international activities account for a significant part of Schiphol Group's results.
At the airports we collaborate with partners, government organisations and other parties in a variety of networks. We aim to provide efficient, reliable and inspiring facilities for airlines and travellers alike. In terms of operational management we collaborate closely with sector partners, such as the airlines, handling agents, Air Traffic Control the Netherlands (LVNL), customs and the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee, government bodies, business partners such as retail and catering companies, and security businesses. Close, long-term and constructive collaboration with all of these parties is key to the permanent success of airport operations. And since it is crucial to generate support for our activities among stakeholders in our environment, we also maintain close contact with local residents.
At the end of 2014, Schiphol Group employed 2,104 people, the majority of whom (1,915) worked at the Schiphol location.