Amsterdam Airport Schiphol: Creating a World Mainport
As the plane took off to the south and then turned back on itself, I could see the small terminal building, recently finished, flanked on one side by the tarmac and single runway and, on the other, by a car park the size of the terminal itself. Leading away from the airport was a two-lane road running east-west. Gradually, the plane gained altitude and before long, we were well above the clouds, oblivious to all that was happening 30 000 feet below. Then, looking out of the window as we penetrated further into French airspace, it was suddenly possible to see the criss-cross pattern of numerous jet trails (I could count up to six at a time) and, at one point, I could even identify a Swissair Airbus heading south, most likely on its way from London to Geneva or Zurich. We were just off the Normandy coast, with a view of France on one side and England on the other, heading into the most congested airspace in Europe: the quadrangle that is formed by Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Paris and London. It is virtually impossible to fly across Europe without crossing into the airspace of one of the countries included in this geographic area (France, Luxemburg, the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany).
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