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The Schiphol control tower. (Source: LVNL)
The Schiphol control tower. (Source: LVNL)

Landings on unavailable runway, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

Status : Closed

Because runway 27 was temporarily unavailable due to an incident, air traffic control decided to use runway 36C for landing traffic. After air traffic control discovered that runway 36C had not been made available (for use as a landing runway) by the airport authorities, the runway controller then cleared an approaching aeroplane to go around. It then turned out that sixteen aeroplanes had already landed on runway 36C, which was formally not made available by the airport.

On 21 April 2019, the analogue system used by LVNL for handling flights on the basis of standardised information carriers (strips), was replaced by a system that presents flight data electronically, the Electronic Flight Strips (EFS) system. The introduction of the EFS at LVNL and the subsequent combination of the two systems following this incident have created an effective safety net. The Dutch Safety Board believes that these steps have considerably reduced the likelihood of incidents that involve runways being made available to LVNL and returned to the airport authorities. The Dutch Safety Board would however add that the system of making runways available to air traffic control and the return of runways by air traffic control to the airport authorities if one or more runways are temporarily out of use, is unique to Schiphol. This situation contributes to the complexity of handling air traffic at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, which can entail certain safety risks.

More about this incident can be found in the Quarterly Aviation Report Q3 2021.


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