All about air traffic in the area

Here you will find questions and answers about air traffic, which will be increasing again after a relatively quiet period. Find out which flight path you live under, why we use certain runways and how many flights we expect. If you don't see your question here, get in touch with the Local Community Contact Centre Schiphol (BAS).

How many flights take off and land at Schiphol every day?

You can find these numbers in our weekly report. It indicates the number of flights at Schiphol in the previous week and what the forecast is for the coming week. We update this report every Friday.

Is my house under a flight path?

There are various flight paths to and from the runways at Schiphol. If you often hear and see aircraft from your house, there’s a good chance you live under a flight path. Do you want to know which route is associated with which runway? You can read all about the runways and routes flown by aircraft here.

How many planes will be flying over my house?

You can find out using the Notifly app. This application displays how many aircraft you can expect above your location and when. You can look up to 24 hours ahead, follow live air traffic and see which runway a plane took off from or which one it is going to land on. Go to Schiphol.nl/Notifly for more information.

When are peak times?

Check the expected peak times in our weekly report. During peak take-off times, a second runway may need to be deployed for take-off. During peak landing times, a second runway for landing may need to be used alongside the main runway. The exact start and end times of these peaks can vary slightly, depending on factors like the weather conditions and air traffic volumes.

Which runways are in use?

There are almost always two runways in use at any one time at Schiphol: one for take-off and one for landing. A second runway for take-off or landing may be required at peak times. You can see where runways are currently being used on the website of Air Traffic Control the Netherlands (LVNL) or in the Notifly app. Which runway is used depends on various factors, including runway availability, the wind and weather conditions and air traffic volumes.

How does the weather affect air traffic?

The weather conditions have a significant impact on runway use at Schiphol. Stormy weather, lightening, fog, wind, rain, hail and snow can pose challenges to departing and landing aircraft. Especially if wind force increases considerably, visibility is reduced due to showers or mist, or the runways become slippery because of wintery precipitation. Read more about weather conditions.

Can I follow live air traffic?

Yes, you can do that with the Notifly app. You can download the app onto your smartphone or tablet and follow air traffic around Schiphol live on a map of the area. By clicking on a plane, you'll get more information about the type of aircraft, flight number, destination or where it came from, and which runway it took off from or which one it will land on. Go to Schiphol.nl/Notifly for more information.

Have aircraft been flying alternative routes during the coronavirus crisis?

A result of decreased air traffic during the coronavirus crisis has been a quieter airspace. Air traffic control has made use of this by directing aircraft to fly more direct routes to and from Schiphol. They do this while adhering to the rules and regulations regarding safety, noise nuisance and emissions. You can read how this works on the website of Air Traffic Control the Netherlands.

Why are there night flights during the coronavirus crisis?

Just as there are fewer flights during the day, the number of night flights has also decreased because of the crisis. You may wonder why these night flights haven't been rescheduled to a quieter moment during the day. The answer is that we aren't allowed to do that. The rights to land at or take off from Schiphol are distributed via slots – fixed time periods in which an aircraft may take off or land. These slots belong to airlines, and they have the right to certain take-off and landing times (which can be during the day or at night). The airlines decide whether or not to use the slots they are entitled to.

Why are various runways being used during the coronavirus crisis?

There were fewer flights during the coronavirus crisis, but the number of aircraft taking off and landing is not evenly spread throughout the day. There are busier periods and quieter periods. A second runway for take-off or landing may be required for departing or arriving traffic during peak times. That is not related to the number of flights per day, but to the times when flights arrive or depart. Which runway we use depends on factors including the weather conditions, air traffic volumes and runway availability.

Can you avoid peak moments by spreading the number of flights over the course of the day?

Even though the coronavirus crisis means that there are fewer flights, there are still daily peak moments. That's when various planes land or take off in the same period. Because other times of day are quieter, it may seem logical to spread the flights out in order to avoid peak times. However, airlines have the right to land at or take off from Schiphol at specific times (slots). This entitles them to a specific take-off or landing time, and they decide for themselves whether to use their slots. It is possible that airlines fly at the most popular times and use their slots, while at other times there is hardly any air traffic and slots remain unused.

What do you do about noise nuisance caused by aircraft?

Schiphol and Air Traffic Control the Netherlands (LVNL), supported by the airlines, are committed to further reduce noise nuisance caused by air traffic. We do that by continuously working on measures aimed at reducing nuisance and improving the quality of the living environment. You can see the measures we are taking in terms of runway use, aircraft types, flight paths and procedures for flying during the day and at night on minderhinderschiphol.nl.

How do I report noise nuisance?

You can contact the Local Community Contact Centre (BAS) for questions, remarks or complaints about air traffic around Schiphol. You can also call them on 020 601 55 55 between 09:00 and 17:00.

What's the prognosis for air traffic after the coronavirus crisis?

That depends on how the crisis develops, national and international regulations, what happens regarding vaccinations and testing, and how quickly people will start to travel again. Our estimate is that it may take years before the same number of flights depart and land at Schiphol as before the crisis (a maximum of 500,000 flights per year). However, we do think that there will be times this summer when it will be very busy in the air (during the take-off and landing peaks, for example).

What are you doing about aircraft emissions?

We are committed to reducing aircraft emissions as much as possible. We believe that sustainable aviation is possible, by using sustainable aviation fuel and electric aircraft for example. You can read about how we want to reduce CO2, nitrogen and ultrafine particle emissions here.

Why are the Kaagbaan and Polderbaan runways almost always in use?

The Kaagbaan Runway and Polderbaan Runway are the preferred runways. They cause relatively less noise nuisance compared to other runways. This is because there are fewer homes in the area around them. That's why we agreed, together with locals and the government, that these should be the preferred runways. Under normal circumstances we deploy the Polderbaan Runway for take-off and the Kaagbaan Runway for landing when the wind comes from a northerly direction. This is reversed when the wind comes from a southerly direction; aircraft take off from the Kaagbaan Runway and land on the Polderbaan Runway.

When is the Aalsmeerbaan Runway used?

We can deploy the Aalsmeerbaan as a second runway for take-off or landing during peak times (alongside the Kaagbaan Runway). When the wind comes from a northerly direction, the Aalsmeerbaan Runway may be used as a second runway for landing. When the wind comes from a southerly direction, it may be used as a second runway for take-off. The Aalsmeerbaan can also be used as the main runway for both take-off and landing in the event the Kaagbaan is unavailable, which may occur due to certain weather conditions or if the runway is undergoing maintenance.

When is the Zwanenburgbaan Runway used?

We can deploy the Zwanenburgbaan as a second runway for take-off or landing during peak times (alongside the Polderbaan Runway). When the wind comes from a northerly direction, we can use the Zwanenburgbaan as a second runway for take-off to the north, and when the wind comes from a southerly direction, we can use it as a second runway for landing from the north. The Zwanenburgbaan Runway can also be used as the main runway for take-off or landing to or from a northerly direction when the Polderbaan Runway is unavailable. This may occur due to certain weather conditions or if the Polderbaan is undergoing maintenance. The Zwanenburgbaan Runway can also be deployed for take-offs or landings from the south if the Kaagbaan Runway is not available, for instance due to weather conditions or maintenance.

When is the Buitenveldertbaan Runway used?

The Buitenveldertbaan Runway is deployed for take-off and landing when there is a strong westerly or easterly wind, when the Polderbaan Runway and Kaagbaan Runway cannot be fully deployed. This runway can also be used as a second runway for take-off or landing when the other runways are unavailable, due to showers, limited visibility or runway maintenance for example.

When is the Schiphol-Oostbaan Runway used?

In general, the Schiphol-Oostbaan Runway is used for general aviation (small planes, business flights). However, it may be used by larger aircraft as a second runway for landing under certain circumstances, such as a south-westerly storm, or when the other runways are unavailable because of runway maintenance. This may, for example, occur when the Buitenveldertbaan Runway cannot be deployed as a second runway for landing.