New Central Security at Schiphol Airport

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After years of construction, Amsterdam Schiphol Airport opened its new central security screening for non-Schengen passengers on June 3rd.

 Why does Schiphol need Central Security?

Schiphol’s number of flight movements and the size of modern aircraft are increasing, as is the number of passengers they carry. The infrastructure and lay-out of the airport, such as the waiting lounges and shopping area’s though, are not expanding. Because of the increasing number of long haul flights, the space behind the gates after passengers have cleared security is not sufficient enough to offer a proper service level. The lack of scanners is often also a bottleneck. After launching the new security on June 3th, all gates will be adjusted one by one to the new situation.

The old, decentralised security, was also very inefficient. Many scanners were needed to serve the passengers on time, the costs of using them was very high and the security agents needed to walk from gate to gate – a very inefficient use of time and resources. In the new situation there will be only five ‘security filters’: two for departing passengers to non-Schengen countries, one for Schengen countries and the last two will be for transit passengers with an onward connecting flight from Amsterdam

Schiphol airport is a hub airport, with 60-70% of its visitors being transfer passengers. As a result, the airport has to offer an efficient and pleasant transfer experience. In the old situation both passengers from ‘clean’ and ‘dirty’ origin who flew into Schiphol had to be checked all over again. This was an annoyance for passengers from the US and UK. In the new situation there is a difference between ‘clean’ and ‘dirty’ flights. Passengers arriving from a country that has a screeninglevel that is approved by the EU (clean) will not have to go reclear security when transferring. The screening on a Schengen-agreement airport , EU country or US is deemed sufficient enough to pass transfer without any further checks.

Central security Schiphol
Locations of the new security filters in yellow

How does it work?

Departing passengers

For passengers departing from Schiphol there are two security filters. In Lounge 2, above the KLM check-in desks, and in Lounge 3. In Lounge 3 is a new floor constructed to accommodate the new securitylanes and after check-in there is a escalator to bring passengers to the security area.

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New security filter in Departures 2
Central security Schiphol
Mezzanine in Departures 3

After this point there are ten lanes available which are occupied by flexible amount of service agents. The environment is the same as in Lounge 1, with emphasis on light, wooden elements and a welcoming lavender scent. With the tag line Schiphol Security Service, the security process should become less stressful for passengers.

Central security Schiphol
At each departure security filter, 10 lanes can be used

To enhance the flow of passengers, the new securitylanes are occupied with x-ray scanners that have several places for the tubs to be stalled and for passengers to put their belongings in. In theory, passengers are able to pass slower passengers and pass more fluently through security. As a new element the tubs are automatically being returned to the beginning of the conveyor. Agents also have to option to assign a tub for extra screening, if a passenger looks suspicious.

Centrale security Schiphol
The conveyors have multiple locations to fill your bin

The walk-through metal detectors are now replaced by security scans and baggage that agents want to check extra can be separated automatically on a different conveyor, which again increases the speed and continuity of the checks.

Central security Schiphol
Cleared and suspect luggage is separated

After passing security, Dutch Military Police will check passports. There are six self service kiosks for EU-citizens to speed up the process, and 8 manned booths for other passport holders. If a passenger is familiar with the procedure, the use of self service kiosk can be quite an addition to the throughput of passengers. For the self-service kiosks there is a minimum age of 18 years.

Central security Schiphol
Self-service passport control at Departures
Central security Schiphol
Immigration booths

Transfer passengers

To separate passengers from cleared and non-cleared origin, new floors have been built on top of the E, F and G piers. Depending on the origin from the flight passengers will be directed to another floor. If the aircraft is arriving from a checked country (Schengen, EU or US) , then the entrance to the Lounge will be used as is the case in the old situation. Without any hassle passengers can shop and dine of go to the airline lounges. If passengers are arriving in Schiphol they can walk freely to passport control. Passengers who need to transit within Schengen have only to pass the mandatory passport check between Lounge 1 and 2. The old security checkpoint between Lounge 1 and 2 will disappear.

If the aircraft is not from a clean country, passengers will exit the plane on the new upperfloor. Transfer passengers will head to the beginning of the G-terminal or the filter above the Holland Boulevard for security and after this check they will arrive in the lounge to continue to their connecting gate and enjoy Schiphol’s facilities.

Centrale Security Schiphol
New gatehouses and extra floor

Passengers that will take an onward flight to a Schengen country have to pass transfer security first to enter the non-Schengen lounge. After this check they are able to pass passport control in Lounge 2 and 1 and can walk to their gate in the Schengen area. The other way round, Schengen passengers who are travelling to a non-Schengen destination only need to pass passport control for their connecting flight

Centrale Security Schiphol
New floor on top of the G-pier

Arriving passengers

For arriving passengers from a clean origin nothing will change compared with the old situation. They can go to the arrivals hall via the lounges. Passengers from a non-cleared origin airport will be led through a separate corridor to the arrivals hall, circumventing the Departures Lounges.

Centrale Security Schiphol
Signage at G-pier

Impact on transfers

The new set-up of the security will benefit almost all passengers. Cleared passengers will not have to pass security any more and passengers departing from Amsterdam have more time to enjoy the facilities on the airport and need not worry about checks before boarding.

The only disadvantage is when passengers have short connections. If a flight arrives at the far end of a pier and the departing flight would as well, passengers with a tight connection would have been able to catch their plane, as the walking distance would have been a few minutes. In the new situation you will have to walk to the root of the pier and possibly back. Eventually, Schiphol expects a better customer service level with the new set-up and says it will not influence the Minimum Connecting Time.

Privium and SkyPriority

At this time Sky Priority and Privium passengers have a separate line at immigration. This will change. As in Departure Hall 1, eligible passengers do have priority entrance to the security , but no dedicated lane. Also, you cannot go directly from the Privium lounge to airside, because you first must pass through the security check . According to Schiphol the flexible deployment of the scanners saves time for every passenger. The criterion is maximum 10 minutes waiting for Economy Class passengers , and 5 minutes for premium travellers . It is unfortunate that Schiphol has not chosen to maintain a dedicated row for premium passengers. Frequent travellers are better prepared for the checks but will now have to wait more behind less experienced passengers. Sky Priority passengers also lose a separate queue at passport control. After the security check there is no distinction between the passengers, except of course for Privium passengers who still have the special scanners on the side.

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Privium scanner in Departures 3

Access to the priority entrance will be through automatic gates, as in Departures 1. At the transfer filters there will also be separate entrances for Privium members. Schiphol could not yet confirm if there would also be special entrances for short connection and Skypriority passengers at transferfilters.

Flights to the US

Also newly introduced are the so-called “Pre Departure Clearance”  centers. If you fly with an US carrier to the US (Delta, United, US Airways / American) then you will be questioned before departure by a security firm. Normally this happens at check-in. Because of the many transfer passengers at Schiphol, this was not always possible. The interview that used to take place at the gate, took some time and space. Now there are two central locations in the terminal where all passengers of US carriers will have to report for departure. As a result, the real gate is not mentioned on your boarding pass, but the location of the PDC; D1 for Delta passengers and E4 for other airlines. After undergoing the interview you will get a receipt with the actual departure gate of your flight.

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Gate D1 for Pre Departure Clearance

It is important to know that this is not related to US CBP Pre Clearance. It is an obligation by the US government that passengers are asked certain security questions. Nor is it the case that after the interview passengers are in quarantine. You can go (back) to the lounge or shops and restaurants. KLM passengers do not have to undergo this interview. Additional security checks at the gate for flights to the US can still occur. At D1 (Delta) there are separate queues for Economy, SkyPriority / Comfort Plus, passengers with assistance and Short Connection passengers.

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Lanes at D1

At time of writing it is unclear what happens when you bypass the PDCs. Some gate agents will allow that you are interviewed at the gate, some will send you back. At present there is no link between your booking and the interview. Schiphol, in cooperation with the airlines, is considering how it can be determined if passengers have passed the interview, either by a sticker or snip on the boardingpass or electronically.

Conclusion

Schiphol has invested a lot in central security to stay in the league as a pleasant, efficient and fast airport for transfer passengers. The willingsness of the company is apparent, though it will take some time for passengers to get used to the new method. With only a month until the Summerholidays, it will soon become apparent if the new setup is capable to handle peak moments in passenger traffic.

In the following video, the new setup is explained.

[ot-video type=”youtube” url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmm1pNssf6Q”]

Video and some photo’s: Schiphol Group

A big thank you to @Innersoul for translating of the original post.

Reacties

  1. Ian zegt

    Sounds like a huge hassle. The old gate side security was a dream. This just creates a huge bottleneck that effects all passengers no matter how full/close their flight is.

    3 giant A380s with 500 passengers taking off in the next two hours? Yeah, that’s you waiting for hours with all 1500 passengers for your flight to the UK on an A320.

    Schiphol had been my favorite departure/arrival airport for a decade and a half, these changes make it like any crappy, dirty, clogged airport in the USA. Try to sell it as increased efficiency for everyone, it’s really just cost cutting that will make passengers more miserable.

  2. Daren zegt

    I went through the connecting security yesterday skypriority lane around 1pm and what a nightmare it was – there was around 15-20 bags lined up at the extra screening lane – not enough staff to clear it. Appeared poorly managed – hopefully just some initial teething problems…

  3. Leendert zegt

    Afgelopen vrijdag een weekendje naar Oslo naar een nichtje die daar studeert te samen met 3 potjes appelstroop.

    Werden deze 3 appelstroppootjes door de douane uit mijn handbagage genomen en weggegooid omdat het vloeistoffen zouden zijn….

    Ik vind dit een onrechtmatige inbeslagname omdat als het vloeistoffen zouden zijn ze leeglopen als je ze open zou maken en op ze kop zou houden. Dat gebeurt natuurlijk nooit bij appelstroop.

    Toen werden de criteria door de douane opeens uitgebreid. Alles wat kneedbaar en smeerbaar was mocht niet mee in de handbagage.

    Ik kan deze criteria niet vinden op de meest voor de hand liggende informatiebronnen dus douane misschien wilt u zich melden via een PB voor uitleg of een excuus.

    • The Flying Dutchboy zegt

      Niet alleen vloeistoffen vallen onder het verbod, ook gels. Zie:
      De security op Schiphol wordt niet uitgevoerd door de douane maar door een privaat bedrijf (I-SEC). Deze zijn niet vertegenwoordigd op deze site. Als je een klacht in wil dienen kun je bij Schiphol terecht.

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