Home News Lessons of Italians and Austrians before the Reconstruction of the Runway at Vilnius Airport

Lessons of Italians and Austrians before the Reconstruction of the Runway at Vilnius Airport

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The reconstruction of the runway at Vilnius Airport, which will begin on 14 July, will become the most important event on the Lithuanian aviation market this year. However, works of this type are not a rarity worldwide as similar reconstructions have been successfully completed at Milan/Bergamo Airport and at the airport in Klagenfurt, the sixth largest Austrian city. Italian and Austrian experience is appreciated by Lithuanians, so the works in the largest airport in Lithuania will be carried out according to advice given by foreign colleagues.

A record year after the reconstruction in Milan

The Italian Milan/Bergamo Airport, which is well-known to Lithuanian travellers, took up the challenge of reconstructing the runway several years ago. In 2014, more than 2000 new LED light-signalling devices were installed, the signal lights system was updated, the asphalt surface was replaced, new electric cables were installed and other essential repairs were done on the runway, which is 3 km long and 60 m wide.

Milan/Bergamo Airport, like Vilnius, has only one runway, so the reconstruction was done in stages. The most important work was done when the airport did not accept aeroplanes for over two weeks. In the case of Vilnius Airport, this period will be 35 days long.

“At Milan/Bergamo Airport, there were three runway reconstruction stages in total. The work during the first two stages, which started in March 2014, did not require any flight restrictions; however, from the middle of May till June the main reconstruction work was carried out on a 24-hour basis. At that time, some companies transferred their flights to Milan–Malpensa Airport located 40 km away from Milan,” said Donatas Voveris, the Head of Airport Network at Lithuanian Airports, who is familiar with the work of foreign colleagues.

It is estimated that during the runway reconstruction in Milan/Bergamo Airport works were being done on an area of 550,000 m2, which is similar to more than 80 football fields in terms of size. The impressive scope of work was worth it because as early as 2015, the number of passengers in Milan/Bergamo Airport was record-high: 10.5 million passengers were handled within a year.

Austrians and Bulgarians worked in a similar manner

A similar runway reconstruction was carried out in 2016 by Klagenfurt Airport located in southern Austria. Here, work was divided into three different stages as well.

According to D. Voveris, in Klagenfurt drainage and rainwater collection systems were repaired and preparation works for roadsides repair were done first.

“Last September, Klagenfurt Airport did not carry out any activity for three weeks to reduce the overall duration and costs of the reconstruction as much as possible. During this stage, all main planned reconstruction tasks were completed. However, various completion works related to the electricity system were done at night during the first weeks in October,” said the representative of Lithuanian Airports.

According to D. Voveris, the runway reconstruction examples in Milan/Bergamo Airport and Klagenfurt Airport demonstrate that the works that will take place at Vilnius Airport will not be significantly different from the work done in other European countries. Similar runway reconstruction work was done in 2012 at Varna Airport in Bulgaria. During the reconstruction, all flights were transferred to Burgas Airport. The scope of reconstruction works at this airport was considerably smaller than in Vilnius; however, despite this, the airport in Bulgaria did not operate for almost 4.5 months.

Budapest Airport is currently preparing for runway reconstruction as well. However, the air gateway in the capital of Hungary has two runways, so here repairs will be organised slightly differently.

From 14 July 2017 to 23:59 on 17 August 2017, during the reconstruction of the runway at Vilnius Airport, approximately 90 per cent of airlines plan to transfer their flights from Vilnius Airport to Kaunas. During the reconstruction, the old runway surface will be replaced, the base will be reinforced, the pipes of the drainage and rainwater collection systems will be replaced and a new signal lights system will be installed. The works will be carried out by a consortium of undertakings led by the Latvian company “A.C.B.”.

Aviation activities at Vilnius Airport will be resumed on 18 August.

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