Route use

In the Dutch airspace, there is a special system of routes for air traffic. Five large international ‘highways’ or corridors run through the airspace at a high altitude.


From every runway at Schiphol from which aircraft can take off, fixed departure routes run to these corridors. There are fixed departure routes for the daytime period between 6.00 a.m. and 10.30 p.m. (local time) and fixed routes for the night-time period. The government based the design of these routes on a required balance between the number of aircraft that must be able to take off from a runway per hour and the lowest noise load for the surrounding area. The departure routes for the daytime period offer more capacity than the night-time routes. These night-time routes pass over the least built-up areas.

The airways are laid down in the Aviation Act. They were established by the government. At the heart of every airway is a Standard Instrument Departure route (SID). On both sides of the SID is a limited strip of airspace. Together, these form the airway. 

Eleven rules 

In using these airways, LVNL must comply with 11 rules established by the government. These rules relate to matters such as the altitude at which aircraft may leave these airways. The rules are laid down in the Schiphol Airport Environmental Information Regulations. The annual LVNL report on compliance with these rules is published on this website.

Day time 

In principle, no fixed approach routes apply by day. After leaving the corridor along which it enters Dutch airspace, air traffic destined for Schiphol is guided to the landing runways by air traffic control. By giving route, speed and altitude instructions to pilots, the air traffic controllers keep incoming and outbound flights at a safe distance from each other, while the best possible use is made of the capacity of the airspace and the runways.

Night time 

In principle, only runway 06 or runway 18R may be used for incoming aircraft at night.
Special fixed night-time approach routes have been designed for these runways and are laid down in the Aviation Act.

Aircraft that use these approach routes are directed to fixed points above the North Sea or the IJsselmeer. The next phase of the approach to Schiphol begins from those points. If possible, a free-glide approach is made. This approach method requires little engine capacity. These approaches are known as Continuous Descent Approaches (CDAs). Not all aircraft have the right cockpit equipment to perform CDAs, although their numbers are steadily diminishing. The night-time approach routes and the use of CDAs are important ways to limit noise load as far as possible at night


Schiphol Airport Environmental Information Regulations - Dutch only