Interview Michiel van Goor: A giant relocation puzzle

The pressure is on for Michiel van Goor. As project manager, his job is to ensure that the renovation of Departures 1 and Lounge 1 goes from the drawing board to the heart of the airport. ‘We have just been through an unsettled phase that involved a lot of demolition work,’ he reveals. ‘Now it’s time to build again. Things are going well and we are making great progress. Schiphol will soon be more attractive than ever.’

Michiel van Goor

‘The aim is to boost check-in and security capacity, while also expanding the lounge,’ explains PluS project manager Michiel van Goor. ‘To achieve this, Schiphol has come up with a smarter layout for Departures 1, Lounge 1 and the adjoining floors. This includes building a mezzanine to accommodate the security process. Just like the mezzanine floor in Departures 2, that will free up more space for passengers in the check-in area. We are still hard at work to design the ideal layout for Lounge 1.’

Building in the busiest part of Schiphol

Upgrading the terminal is far from simple. ‘We are building in the middle of the busiest part of Schiphol,’ Michiel points out. ‘To make things even trickier, this project consists of many small steps that all affect each other. I often call it our relocation puzzle. If one piece is missing, the rest won’t fit.’

All in a day’s work

Michiel has found out that it’s just not possible to keep everyone happy during renovation work on this scale. ‘When people first saw the plans, there was plenty of enthusiasm. But now that it’s affecting their work on a daily basis – often as planned but sometimes unexpectedly – it can be hard to take. Closed toilets, narrower walkways, inconvenience for lessees, fewer check-in desks... these things are bound to have an impact. Thankfully, it’s all for a good cause.’

More seating, shops and walkways

The third floor cafés, Touch Down and Dakota’s are currently closed and due to be knocked down. In this part of the airport, only the Panorama Terrace is still open. ‘We are constructing a new business class departure lounge and a new staff restaurant on this floor,’ says Michiel. One floor down, there will be a mezzanine with the new security filter. ‘The preliminary design for that part of the project is now ready. Once it is in place, passengers will have far more room to sit and walk around, as well as more places to eat, drink and shop. No doubt about it: Schiphol will soon be more attractive and better than ever.’