The scope of the renovation works at Bergamo Orio al Serio Airport took in the runway, which is 3km long with a paved width of 60m, the main apron to the south of the airport, a smaller secondary apron to the north, the taxiways and ramps. In addition to the resurfacing of these areas, 2,000 new LED runway lights were installed, which provide an energy saving of around 70% when compared with traditional lighting systems.
The project was undertaken in three stages, the first of which began in March and did not require any flight restrictions, as it was focused on the west side and in the area north of the aircraft apron. Phase 1 involved the upgrade of surfacing and asphalt on an area of approximately 80,000sqm, the installation of 400 new LED runway lights, the creation of a new 5,000sqm concrete apron, and levelling and increasing the load-bearing capacity of 13,500sqm of the grass safe area located at the end of the runway.
The second phase began towards the end of April, while ensuring that the airport continued to be operational; this phase took in the east end of the runway. Phase 2 involved the upgrade of surfacing and asphalt on a 55,000sqm area, the installation of 250 new LED runway lights, and levelling and increasing the load-bearing capacity of 8,000sqm of the grass safe area located at the end of the runway.
The third stage was carried out between 13 May and 1 June, and resulted in the total closure of the runway. This final stage of the runway works was characterised by a whirlwind of activity 24 hours a day. It involved the upgrade of surfacing and asphalt on a 295,000sqm area, and the installation of 1,200 new LED runway lights.
The figures associated with the project are impressive and indicative of the task at hand. The ground surface area on which the work took place totals 550,000sqm – equivalent to more than 80 football pitches. Over 220,000 tonnes of asphalt were laid, corresponding to 6,500 truckloads of 35 tonnes. Meanwhile, new runway markings total 56,000sqm and 370km of power cables have been laid.
The first aircraft to land on the newly renovated runway was an Air Dolomiti Embraer 195 at 06:10 on 2 June.
While the airport was temporarily closed for the runway works, it took the opportunity to implement some terminal improvements, giving it a brighter, more attractive feel. This included 1,600sqm of porcelain tiles being laid, the restoration of 5,000sqm of parquet flooring, and restructuring of the suspended ceiling. There was also refurbishment of some retail stores.
Looking ahead, a further phase will take place, which will see the modernisation of the ground handling aircraft area on the north apron, with asphalting of a 45,000sqm area.