In the presence of a small group of invited guests, His Majesty the King opened Polaris, the new radar and training centre of Air Traffic Control the Netherlands (LVNL) at Schiphol-Oost on Friday 4 September. After speeches by Michiel van Dorst (LVNL CEO) and Lieutenant General Dennis Luyt (Commander of the Royal Netherlands Air Force), the King performed the opening ceremony.
Michiel van Dorst, 'Where we stand now marks the spot of a previous chapter in the history of Dutch aviation. This is where the first "station building" of Schiphol Airport was situated. And now we’re here to open Polaris. A prestigious building in which we contribute to ensuring that passenger air travel is even safer and more efficient. Vitally important to connecting the Netherlands to the world.'
After the opening, the King was introduced to the new iCAS air traffic control system as well as the various aspects of the education and training programme for air traffic controllers. A demonstration of a training session was shown in the tower simulator. Afterwards, King Willem-Alexander spoke with those involved about developments in the field of air traffic control.
Polaris is situated opposite the LVNL office at Schiphol-Oost and is connected by an iconic breezeway. The building has several rooms for educating and training air traffic controllers, including a 3D tower simulator that can create a 360-degree projection of the view from any control tower in the Netherlands. The operations room boasts, among other things, about a hundred radar screens that are used for air traffic control and training purposes.
In Polaris, the new iCAS air traffic control system is being built. This system will be commissioned in the winter of 2022-2023. iCAS meets the new European aviation requirements and enables LVNL to innovate faster and contribute to a more efficient journey for passengers, lower fuel consumption for airlines and reduced CO2 emissions as a result.
The education and training of air traffic controllers for both civilian and military air traffic will also be housed in Polaris. The building represents a new step in the merger of military and civilian air traffic control into a single Air Traffic Management unit in 2023.
The air traffic controllers of the Royal Netherlands Air Force already moved to Schiphol-Oost in 2017. With the opening of Polaris, the education and training programme for military air traffic controllers is now also transferred from AOCS Nieuw Milligen to the 711 air traffic control squadron at LVNL.