Royal Schiphol Group: Annual Report 2023

Message from our CEO

Turning Point: quieter, cleaner, better

2023 has been the year of turnaround for Royal Schiphol Group on many fronts. Not only for travellers who once again could move swiftly from check-in to the gate thanks to sufficient security officers at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol but also for the thousands of employees who have experienced improved working conditions. We have also focused this year on our neighbours and the environment by intensifying our efforts to make Schiphol quieter, cleaner and better not only for today but for the years to come.

Read the entire message from our CEO

Improved working conditions
Achieving better working conditions, higher wages and improved work-to-rest ratio for security officers was non-negotiable in 2023 resulting in Schiphol becoming an attractive workplace for them. I am proud of the high number of security officers recruited in a short time frame and how that has been achieved. Key was the joint recruitment campaign, working side by side, with our security companies. The success was for everyone to see and experience – the 2022 queues are no longer there, disappearing like frost in the sun. Occasionally, we find the waiting times for arriving travellers, at for example passport control, too long and we are working hard to find a structural solution together with the government. Overall though 2023 has been the year when travellers have once again experienced how nice it is to travel through Schiphol.

A better experience for travellers
There are many factors that contributed to this improved experience for travellers. Our Airport Operations Centre (APOC) is fully operational, significantly increasing predictability, flexibility and efficiency of our operations. All available data, from our partners at the airport, is processed by the APOC into specific points of attention and measures that allow us to work at improving the passenger journey. We also gave travellers the opportunity to take partial control of their own journey by booking a time slot to go through security. This service has been used more than a million times since introduced and is much appreciated by travellers. Lastly, I'd like to mention how we brought management closer to the operation. We transformed the senior management team into a broader operationally composed Executive Team of six disciplines responsible for managing the company. As a result, the top of the organisation is much more focused on day-to-day operations at the airport. I am pleased that this management structure will continue.

A sense of responsibility
’It’s up to us’ is our internal motto and embodies our changed approach. We feel a sense of responsibility for matters and processes that are officially not our responsibility yet do take place at our premises. Our drive to improve the working conditions of the handling agents is an example. Together with the handling companies and airlines, improving the working conditions in baggage handling got off to a flying start in 2023. Many work locations are now equipped with properly functioning lifting aids and there are many more to come this year meaning that agents will no longer need to do heavy lifting. Our vision for the future is a fully automated baggage handling process. We are also hard at work on and around the apron, piloting innovations to reduce exposure to (ultra)fine particles. It won’t be easy but we are devoted to offering colleagues working between aircraft every day a better work environment.

Prioritising our investments
Another important shift made in 2023 is the clear need to prioritise our investments in order to ensure the longer term quality of and at the airport. After years of focusing too much on costs and growth, we decided in 2023 that we had catching up to do to offer a higher level of quality to colleagues, travellers and airlines, as we are first and foremost, a logistics company that must be able to rely on its assets. In the broader context in which Schiphol operates, we want more structural attention to be paid to the quality and reliability of our services.

A quieter, cleaner and better Schiphol
Besides the improvements made for travellers and employees, we also intensified our steps towards developing a better relationship with our neighbours and the environment. We introduced our 8-point plan containing specific measures and suggestions for a quieter, cleaner and better Schiphol, including implementing a night curfew, no longer welcoming private jets and keeping the noisiest planes away. We are in favour of a distance-based air travel tax; the further the flight, the higher the tax. Schiphol must be quieter, cleaner and better. Firstly, because we simply believe that this is necessary. Schiphol serves a societal interest which includes taking good care of the neighbours and the environment. We are very transparent on our position due to the broad public interest. Secondly, because Schiphol's value is too great to jeopardise the public support we have. Schiphol is a fantastic company. Schiphol connects the Netherlands with the rest of the world in a unique way. Every day, the Dutch people, Dutch companies and the Dutch economy benefit from the extensive network of destinations that has been established over more than one hundred years. That is something to be proud of and to cherish. Schiphol, and with it the entire Dutch aviation sector, needs support to continue performing that role. That support needs to be earned, which is only possible if we take the needs of others much more into consideration. This is also high on the political agenda and our proposals resonate with many parties.

Breaking with tradition
We have disturbed the equilibrium with our 8-point plan. Our new ideas and approach has broken with tradition, causing unpopularity with some. However, I am convinced that transparency and engaging in debate from a variety of perspectives only makes for a better balance. Operationally, we worked very well with our partners at the airport in 2023, something I am proud of. We also see this reflected in the reputation scores among local residents and people in the Netherlands in general. These have risen systematically over the past year towards the level we are aiming for.

Work well together
A proof point of our ‘working well together’ was when the Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management surprised us and suspended the experimental scheme meaning that we and our sector partners had to establish, in a very short space of time, what the number of flights for 2024 could be. This is however only one proof point in addition to those already mentioned demonstrating both our actions and commitment to work well together. Our thanks go to all our partners, from cleaners to Marechaussee officers, and from retailers to airlines. Together, we made Schiphol once again a pleasant airport for travellers and workers. The turning point enabling structural improvement at Schiphol has been made yet realistically we recognise that there's still a lot to be done and along the way we will undoubtedly discover that more is needed than we thought. What is certain though, is that we are on our way towards a quieter, cleaner and better future and that we have no intention of turning back. 2023 was truly a turning point of structural improvement for Schiphol.

Ruud Sondag
President & CEO of Royal Schiphol Group

Schiphol in figures 2023

Our performance

  • Direct destinations from Schiphol

  • Decrease CO₂e emissions Schiphol

    (compared to 2019)

  • People that experienced noise disturbance at night

  • New security officers at Schiphol

  • Lost Time Injury Frequency (LTIF) at Schiphol

  • Underlying ROE

Our company

Royal Schiphol Group has an important socio-economic function. The airports in the Group create value for society and for the economy, with safety as a key enabler. Together with our international activities, Schiphol Group’s Dutch airports are part of our ‘Why’ of Connecting your world.

We invest in infrastructure and facilities across our airports to connect the world and to fulfill our ambition of creating the world’s most sustainable, high-quality airports. Our robust financial policy aims to safeguard the independent financing of our business, both today and in the future.

Our Vision 2050

The cornerstones of our Vision, the four Qualities - Quality of Network, Quality of Life, Quality of Work and Quality of Service - rest on a foundation of two key enablers: Safety first and a Robust organisation. Together, these fundamental pillars will guide our Group through the challenging period ahead.

  • Quality of Network

    Strong international connections are essential for an open and globally connected economy such as the Netherlands.

  • Quality of Life

    We acknowledge our responsibility to help ensure a sustainable future for aviation and we aim to safeguard the long-term well-being of people and the environment.

  • Quality of Work

    Schiphol Group recognizes its responsibility for the quality of work, of its own workforce and the workforce of whole the value chain.

  • Quality of Service

    Schiphol Group aims to provide its passengers and other customers with an unrivalled Quality of Service.

  • Safety first

    Safety is Schiphol Group’s number one priority and one of two key enablers that support the four qualities of our Vision 2050.

  • Robust organisation

    Schiphol Group’s robustness stems from our strong financial base, high ethical standards and solid organisational framework.

Schiphol 2023 in review

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