The corona crisis is an unprecedented blow to the aviation sector. As a result, the network quality of Schiphol has experienced a strong decline. In the third week of September 2020, 71 destinations disappeared from Schiphol’s network compared to the same week in 2019, and direct connectivity dropped by 54 percent. The decrease in the number of direct flights means that the number of possible onward and hub connections declines even further: Schiphol’s indirect connectivity decreases by 83 percent, and hub connectivity decreases by 68 percent. The Dutch regional airports have also been severly impacted: Eindhoven and Rotterdam-The Hague experienced respective decreases in direct connectivity of 49 and 72 percent. Groningen-Eelde and Maastricht-Aachen have seen almost all passenger flights disappear.

Compared to the competition, Schiphol performs the least poorly: other airports are seeing an even stronger decline in the various connectivity measures. At the competing airports (Paris Charles de Gaulle, London Heathrow, Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich, Düsseldorf, Brussels, Istanbul and Dubai) direct connectivity drops between 62 and 75 percent. The differences with Schiphol are even greater in terms of hub connectivity: dropping between 82 and 93 percent at competing airports.

In this monitor study, SEO analyses Schiphol’s network quality and compares it to competing airports in Western Europe and the Middle East. The study provides insight into the extent to which Schiphol and its competitors are connected with the rest of the world, distinguishing between direct and indirect connections. The monitor pays specific attention to the links between the airports and the main intercontinental economic centres (Global Cities). It also provides a picture of the quality of the hub function of Schiphol and competitors, measured in hub connectivity: to what extent do inbound and outbound flights connect to each other? Finally the report highlights how the Air France KLM network develops at Schiphol in comparison with the developments at Paris Charles de Gaulle, in the light of the Dutch state guarantees.

The SEO NetScan connectivity model has been applied to compare the network of Dutch airports with the networks of the competition. This model considers three forms of connectivity: direct, indirect and hub connectivity. As input, the model uses data from the Official Airline Guide (OAG) – the timetable of the global aviation network. To check the reliability of these data, we compared this data with data from the Royal Schiphol Group.

As in previous years, the network quality is considered in the third week of September, which is usually a representative week. However, due to the corona crisis, the number of flights fluctuated strongly during the year. That is why the monitor for 2020 also pays attention to the connectivity developments in other weeks of 2020. After the dip in April – in which all airports lost the vast majority of their flights – Schiphol’s recovery outperformed the Western European competition.