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The attention to safety at and around Schiphol was maintained in 2020. Changes due to corona brought new risks: disruptive passenger behavior, the disinfection of aircraft and the transport of cargo in the passenger cabin require extra attention. Although air traffic is limited, all systems and processes must continue to run. While much is going differently than usual, the sector continues to pay attention to safety and sustainability. Because the number of flights decreased sharply in 2020, there is less noise pollution and emissions in total.

Inspector General Jan van den Bos: “We have continued our work under special circumstances and we will continue to draw attention to risks and possible improvements. Safety and sustainability at Schiphol remain important themes for the ILT. ”

Safety management system

Following a recommendation from the Dutch Safety Board in 2017, a new integrated safety management system is increasingly taking shape. Various parties at Schiphol are working together to reduce the risks at the interfaces between the organizations. The ILT sees that the system contributes to improving safety. The Inspectorate also sees opportunities to improve the approach and will also form an opinion in the coming year on implementation, progress and the effectiveness of the measures taken by the sector.

Number of homes is increasing

The inspectorate sees that the number of homes and accommodations close to Schiphol and flight routes is still increasing. In 2020, 600 homes and a few other accommodations where many people gather have been built. The number of people exposed to external safety risks, noise pollution and emissions is increasing as a result.

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Due to corona, the number of aircraft movements in operating year 2020 is much lower. There are therefore no violations of the external safety risk and noise standards or the so-called 'fourth runway rule': where limited use is made of a fourth runway per day. But the reduction in the number of flights also results in a different runway use and different flight patterns. Rest in the airspace provides opportunities for shorter flight paths and visual approaches. This causes noise nuisance at different locations. The ILT receives reports about this and discusses this with air traffic control.

There is a clear correlation between the corona measures on board and the increase in misbehavior by passengers. In operating year 2020, 746 incidents involving disruptive passengers were reported. More than 40% of these are incidents related to not wearing a mouth mask. Aircraft also need to be cleaned more intensively. The disinfectants used (biocides) were not authorized in the Netherlands. Because the resources cannot be tested in the short term, the State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management issues a temporary exemption with which 3 resources can be used by airlines. The Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate reports this on them website

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