Having used the airport railway station in Amsterdam several times I’m a huge fan of this service, however I had no idea that every day there were over 50,000 other fans! With the recent news that Heathrow Airport is to be a ‘hub’ for high speed rail in the UK – similar to what Schiphol is in the Netherlands this just seemed like an appropriate topic on which to write my first ever blog, let alone my first all important Amadeus Rail Blog! So if there are an estimated 18 million passengers at Schiphol Airport Railway station there must surely be some major benefits of this service for the Airport’s stakeholders and something that other airports can utilise?
From the passengers perspective time can be saved, especially if the feeder airline isn’t interlined with the long haul connection. Furthermore the additional comfort that a journey by rail offers is a welcome luxury for the modern day traveller. Another thing to consider as I so frequently hear from my snow bound family at home in the UK is that it’s important to consider the effects of our carbon footprint on the world (I too can testify to believing this after witnessing snow on the Côte d’Azur) – travelling by rail can help reduce this – especially where short haul flights are the competition.
It might sound bizarre but the airlines themselves can (if marketed and utilised effectively) benefit from these links. They can set up interlining agreements – much in the way that Lufthansa and Deutsche Bahn have already. Moreover in the current environmental climate it is advantageous for brands to appear “green friendly” and being seen to promote high-speed rail can only assist the company in building its brand to meet this criterion.
The final major stakeholder is the actual airport and their major gain from this is the ability to maintain (if not increase) passenger levels yet reduce (or maintain) air traffic. Such a plan for the expansion of London Heathrow was put forward over the summer, where instead of building a 3rd runway, Heathrow would be linked to major UK cities by a high speed link. (A variation of this plan has now been accepted.) And of course we shouldn’t forget those excess foreign currency inhaling Duty Free Shops…If passengers are willing to use a certain airport for their long haul flight due to the airports rail link then surely the airport will witness increased revenues the Terminal Duty Free Shops?