Hyperloop One, a California-based company is seeking to make the concept of aircraft-speed ground transportation a commercial reality. A hyperloop track would link Amsterdam Schiphol and Lelystad airports to result the two facilities effectively becoming one integrated aerodrome within five years, according to FlightGlobal.
Hyperloop One senior vice-president global field operations Nick Earle said the company was in “significant discussions with the Dutch government around the concept of creating extra capacity at «Schiphol» by building a hyperloop link to Lelystad. If the concept becomes a reality, Earle says the 50 kilometers journey between Schiphol and Lelystad would take just 4 minutes, creating what he describes as “a single, integrated airport” at a “fraction of the cost” of building an additional runway.
Hyperloop One has built a 500 meters test track in Nevada for its version of the hyperloop technology that was originally conceived by Tesla founder Elon Musk. Other firms are also attempting to commercialise the concept.
The idea is to build a ground transportation system in which passengers and cargo are loaded into pods that accelerate gradually through a low-pressure tube using electric propulsion. The pods are then lifted off the track by magnetic levitation, the aim being for them to glide at speeds of up to 1,046 km/h.
Virgin Group founder Richard Branson in last October announced a partnership with Hyperloop One under which his company will invest an undisclosed sum in the firm. Branson will join the board of directors and the company will later be rebranded as Virgin Hyperloop One. On announcing the investment, Branson said: “After visiting Hyperloop One’s test site in Nevada and meeting its leadership team this past summer, I am convinced this ground-breaking technology will change transportation as we know it and dramatically cut journey times.”
Meanwhile Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport added 4.8 million passengers last year with the help of a six-runway setup that’s unique in Europe, putting it almost level with Paris Charles de Gaulle as the region’s second-busiest hub, reports Bloomberg.
Schiphol attracted 68.4 million travelers, consolidating its lead over Frankfurt and putting it within 1 million of the total at Charles de Gaulle. London Heathrow remained Europe’s leading airport despite the constraints of only two runways as airlines turned to bigger planes to boost capacity.
While Schiphol plans to open a third terminal in 2023, when Frankfurt will also add a new building, its advance could be stymied by a cap on flights at 500,000 a year aimed at curbing noise and pollution. The Dutch hub had almost 497,000 plane movements in 2017, 22,000 more than at Heathrow, aided not only by its multiple runways but the ability to operate 24 hours a day — a freedom many of its European rivals are denied.