Amsterdam Airport Schiphol 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 The airport used to have the IATAcode of SPL, which has fallen into disuse and has been replaced by AMS.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.
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
Schiphol has large shopping areas as a source of revenue and as an additional attraction for passengers. Schiphol Plaza is the shopping centre before customs, hence it is used by air travelers and non-traveling visitors. The Rijksmuseum operates an annex at the airport, offering a small overview of both classical and contemporary art. Admission to the exhibits is free. In summer 2010, the world’s first permanent airport library opened alongside the museum, providing passengers access to a collection of 1,200 books (translated into 29 languages) by Dutch authors or on subjects relating to the country’s history and culture. The 968-square-foot (89.9 m2) library offers e-books and music by Dutch artists and composers that can be downloaded free of charge to a laptop or mobile device. Schiphol has its own mortuary, where the dead can be handled and kept before departure or after arrival. Since October 2006, people can also get married at Schiphol. For aviation enthusiasts, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has a large rooftop viewing area, called the Panoramaterras. It is not accessible to connecting passengers unless they first exit the airport. Enthusiasts and the public can enter, free of charge, from the airport’s landside. Since June 2011, it is the location for a KLM Cityhopper Fokker 100, modified to be a viewing exhibit. Besides the Panoramaterras, Schiphol has other spotting sites, especially along the newest Polderbaan runway and at the McDonald’s restaurant at the north side of the airport. The wayfinding signage at Schiphol was designed in 1991 by Paul Mijksenaar.
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