Amsterdam Airport Schiphol reopens Polderbaan Runway following major maintenance

After major maintenance works on the runway and surrounding taxiways were completed, Schiphol’s Polderbaan Runway has now resumed operations, but only under normal visibility conditions.

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol reopens Polderbaan Runway

Credit: Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) has announced that it has reopened its Polderbaan Runway after operations were temporarily halted at the end of January 2021 due to the beginning of major maintenance. As of 15 May 2021, operations have resumed for take-offs and landings in normal visibility conditions. 

On 10 May and 14 May 2021, several test flights and checks were conducted in order to check the adequate and accurate functioning of the newly installed navigation and guidance systems, which serve to ensure that aircraft can safely land on Polderbaan Runway.

The systems in place are the Instrument Landing System (ILS) of Air Traffic Control the Netherlands (LVNL) and the Precision Approach Path Indicator (PAPI) of Schiphol Airport. After approval of the ILS, Polderbaan Runway will now be available for landings in normal visibility conditions.

During these maintenance works, an area of 600,000m2 was renovated. A total of 150,000 tonnes of asphalt was supplied and processed for the maintenance of the runway itself and on the surrounding taxiways. During renovation, 60 per cent of the asphalt that was removed from the runway and then recycled was used to lay the new layer of asphalt. The new asphalt on Polderbaan Runway is an innovative asphalt mixture called Flightflex.

Other works carried out on the runway included the installation of 70km of new cabling and the replacement of 2,100 runway lights, which are now more sustainable and durable LED lights.

The maintenance on Polderbaan Runway was carried out in collaboration with construction company Heijmans. These works fall under the category of ‘period of major maintenance’. This means that such extensive maintenance will not be required for the next seven years, apart from the regular maintenance that occurs on an annual basis.

The maintenance involved replacing the Instrument Landing System (ILS), a system which helps aircraft to make a gradual curved approach towards the runway, under the authority of Air Traffic Control the Netherlands (LNVL). Some of the work that needs to be done on the ILS can only take place after the major maintenance is complete.

After the test flights on 10 May and 14 May 2021, and the approval of the accurate functioning of the ILS, Polderbaan Runway can now be used again for landings in normal visibility conditions. According to international safety regulations, the new ILS must have been operating reliably and stably for around 30 days before the runway can be used when visibility is limited, such as when there is thick fog. Once the ILS has been working well during this trial period, Polderbaan Runway can be used again for landings in all visibility conditions.

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