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Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is getting ready for the future

Whereas 2017 was mostly dedicated to designing, tendering and preparatory work, 2018 will see plenty of construction going on at the airport. Planner Pieter-Bas Siebers has been involved with the construction of the new pier and terminal since day one, and manages the general planning. 'The aim is to prepare Schiphol for the future. So far, we're right on schedule.'

The wall behind his desk is covered with an impressive array of timelines, colours, numbers and dotted lines. After a good long look at it, Pieter-Bas explains that they are subprojects for the construction of the new pier and terminal, as part of the overarching Capital Programme. 'The black cross-referencing shows how the dozens of separate projects are connected. Should something go wrong during the landside preparations, for instance, that will likely cause delays elsewhere as well. It's important to identify such problems in time, and correct them where possible. My colleagues and I use the schedules and various systems to keep a clear overview of the entire project.'

Dot on the horizon
Yet another layer of complexity can be found at the level below Pieter-Bas's general planning. The various contractors justify their schedules to the various parties in Project Management and Construction Management (PMCM), who are responsible for day-to-day project management at Landside, Airside and Logistics. In turn, they have to report their schedules to Pieter-Bas. 'I then combine everything in the general planning, and safeguard the various dependencies and the overall progress. At times, it's quite difficult to consider things that are still several years away. In order to stay in control, we have defined a couple of important milestones. Obviously, the dot on the horizon that we're working towards is the opening of the new terminal in 2023.'

Realistic, but ambitious
For two years now, Pieter-Bas has been taking care of the schedules for the Capital Programme. While these are certainly realistic, they are also quite ambitious – especially within an airport that is still fully operational. 'We're starting to run into the first small issues now, such as a contractor who has suffered a bit of a delay, or a tendering process that takes slightly longer than expected. Dealing with issues like these is what makes my job as a planner quite a challenge.'

2018 will be even better
Pieter-Bas can look back on a successful year. 'We've completely changed the way we work, even including people without any traditional Schiphol expertise. Even so, virtually every box on our to-do list has been ticked. The preparations for the new pier have progressed nicely, and much has been achieved on landside as well. The P1 Extension was taken into use right on schedule, the P2 car park has been demolished, old motorway exits have been removed, and so on.' But what about next year? According to Pieter-Bas, 'Next year will be even better. We'll be making room for the new terminal, finalising the design and constructing the new pier in earnest. Those are the main focus points for the coming year.'

This report was first published in the January issue of AIRePORT.

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