Milan Bergamo Airport is to undergo a development programme to meet rising demand and expansion, writes Justin Burns
Milan Bergamo Airport has grown into the third busiest gateway in Italy for passenger traffic and this expansion shows no signs of griding to a halt.
Strong growth does though put a strain on airport facilities and it will undergo a development programme over the next two years to meet ever-rising demand.
In 2018, the airport welcomed 12.9 million passengers and expects to reach 13.5 million this year as in the first quarter traffic was up 4.19% to 2.87 million while last year it also handled 123,000 tonnes of cargo.
Giacomo Cattaneo, Director of Commercial Aviation, Milan Bergamo Airport, says as passenger traffic continues to grow it is still expanding facilities and extending the terminal.
“We launched a programme of works, entirely financed by SACBO and costing about 40 million, which will extend to the west side of the airport and, over the course of two years, will increase the area to a total of 70,000 square metres , in preparation for the linking of the west terminal with the terminus of the future railway connection,” he explains.
“The investments set out in the new airport development plan, amounting to €450 million, indicate SACBO’S long-term vision. We will increase from 5 to 10 boarding gates in the non-Schengen area.
“At the same time, the baggage checking system, which will subsequently be expanded and adapted to meet Standard 3 regulations, will be arranged on the ground floor in the space reserved for the BHS block, and will be installed with the latest X-ray machines.”
Capacity will not be problem moving forward, Cattaneo notes and he says the increase in passenger movements at Milan Bergamo is due to the high level of load factor on flights which sees almost total occupation of seats on flights to and from the Italian gateway.
“In addition, we hope to expand our network, and at the same time our terminal, and increase gradually the number of passengers,” he says. “Therefore, we are growing our infrastructure while the passengers and cargo grows – so capacity for the coming years will remain a non-issue.”
Milan Bergamo’s summer route network spans to 133 destinations in 40 countries and
it will continue to expand as on on 1 September, it will welcome a new six-weekly London Gatwick Airport route from British Airways and it has just opened new links to Stuttgart and Dusseldorf by Ryanair owned Lauda.
Cattaneo welcomes these and also sees other emerging markets and says there is interest from the Red Sea and the Arab countries and a return to flights to Tunisia and Ukraine, while the Eastern European market is still expanding.
Competition is fierce among Europe’s airports who are competing for routes and he believes the growth in demand has allowed airports to increase passenger movements. “This positive result was recorded especially in airports where low-cost airlines operate,” he notes. “Passengers tend to choose the most economical and logistically convenient travel formula. We’ve seen therefore good results from competition.”
Cattaneo is upbeat on the operating environment at Milan Bergamo and believes ground handlers, airlines and other parts of the chain are working well but says there is always room to improve and develop. “The airport is a complex system in which all operators must act in unison, for safety and efficiency. In the case of Milan Bergamo we are satisfied with the performances achieved, but we are aware of the further margins for improvement,” he concludes.