Sixteen aircraft safely landed on unavailable runway at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

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On Saturday 18 January, a Transavia Boeing 737-800 (PH-HXB) operated flight HV706 between Ivalo, Finland and Amsterdam Schiphol, The Netherlands. The aircraft safely landed on runway 29 (Buitenveldertbaan) but was forced to hold on the runway to allow the removal of a safety pin in the aircraft’s nose gear, a pin that already had to be removed before departure from Ivalo. An investigation has been launched into the matter.

As that runway was – for a short period – unavailable for landing, another runway was used for landings. In total, 16 landings took place on runway 18C / 36C (Zwanenburgbaan), although this runway had not yet been formally made available to LVNL (Luchtverkeersleiding Nederland / Dutch air navigation service provider) at that time.

These landings took place over a period of 25 minutes,” LVNL wrote in an official statement. “All parties involved were aware of the use of runway 18C /36C (Zwanenburgbaan). The runway had been inspected, and the runway lighting with the corresponding stopbars that protect against unauthorized entry onto the runway had been switched on. This ensured that there was no risk of collision.”

LVNL reported the occurrence to the Dutch Safety Board (Onderzoeksraad voor Veiligheid) and is also conducting its own investigation into this occurrence.

On footage that appeared on Dutch news site NH Nieuws, a Ryanair Boeing 737-800 was approaching runway 36C but was forced to make a last-minute go-around after instruction of the air traffic controller. Shortly after the go-around, the runway was cleared for usage.

In the meantime, LVNL has informed NH Nieuws that it demands the immediate removal of the video clip with the communication between air traffic control and the Ryanair aircraft that made a go-around.

LVNL will now take legal action against the news organization as the video clip was not removed before last night 23:59 (UTC +1), LVNL states that incidents between air traffic control and an aircraft may not be retransmitted and this according to a European Regulation. LNVL also says that the sound recordings may not be retransmitted because the company wants to protect its employees against public condemnation. LVNL is afraid that the recording will be taken out of context, a spokesperson said.

Making the runway available

The procedure for starting to use a runway is that LVNL notifies the airport from the air traffic control tower about the exact time at which they want to start using a runway. After that, the airport performs an inspection of the runway. After the inspection of the runway has taken place, LVNL submits a formal request to the airport to start using the runway.

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