According to Budapest Airport, one day before the scheduled deadline, Runway 1 (13R/31L) of Liszt Ferenc International Airport was re-opened for traffic. The first aircraft to take off from the new concrete was an Emirates Boeing 777-300 type aircraft departing to Dubai. The handover of Runway 1 was made urgent by the need to meet the demand of increased traffic in the summer peak more safely and more comfortably.
The concrete pavement of Runway 1 had to be replaced on an area of five football fields combined, on a length of 1400 meters in total.
In the course of 110 days of refurbishment works, no less than 8 500 cubic meters of concrete and close to 300 kilometers of electric cables were laid, and the manholes connected with the runway were refurbished too.
Utilizing the period of runway closure from 12 March, Budapest Airport professionals also installed a new instrument landing system (ILS) at the runway end towards Vecsés (31L), as a result of which aircraft will be able to land more safely in low visibility conditions (fog, precipitation, nighttime). Thanks to the new system, Liszt Ferenc International Airport will be serving airlines with state-of-the-art radio navigation systems.
The total cost of runway refurbishment amounted to HUF 2.1 billion (EUR 6.5 million), financed by Budapest Airport from its own resources.
Due to the coordinated work effort and favorable weather conditions, the refurbished runway was handed back to traffic Friday afternoon, one day before the original deadline of 30 June. Previously, several authorities and other organizations including the Airport Police Directorate and the Aviation Authority were involved in the technical handover, safety and security inspection of the runway.
“We are proud and satisfied to return Runway 1 to aircraft again after general contractor KÉSZ and its team completed their high-quality work. Earlier they built SkyCourt for us, and they continue to work on the completion of Pier B, meeting the complex requirements in the airport environment,” said Stephan Schattney, chief technical officer of Budapest Airport, pointing out that he hopes the expected useful life of Runway 1 is now extended by several decades.
In an average year, 52% of take-offs and landings are performed on Runway 1 which was extended to its current length of 3000 meters back in 1958 and it was reconstructed with new concrete in 1986. A 900-meter stretch of the runway towards Vecsés was refurbished by Budapest Airport last year. The single-runway operation lasting for three and a half months also required an additional effort from air traffic control: in the summer peak, in particular, the so-called ATC tower controllers and terminal approach controllers had to handle a significantly increased workload. The professionals of HungaroControl ensured the undisturbed flow of air traffic at a high professional standard, without causing significant delays.
“We are happy to take over the refurbished Runway 1, as it allows us to manage the summer peak in enhanced and safer circumstances,” said Péter Huszka, chief operating officer of Budapest Airport. He added,
“July, August, and September are the busiest months for the airport traditionally, since most people go on holiday abroad in this period, and inbound traffic is pouring in for Hungarian festivals and other summer events.
Budapest Airport is doing everything it can to make the summer flights as comfortable and safe as possible.”
Due to the refurbishment of Runway 1, air traffic temporarily increased over some neighborhoods close to the airport. In the affected areas, primarily in district 17 of the capital, Budapest Airport continued its voluntary residential window insulation program, and 43 families have used this opportunity so far this year. Budapest Airport would like to hereby thank all residents for their patience and understanding.
Reconstruction of Runway 1 is integral part of Budapest Airport’s five-year-long airport development program called BUD:2020. In this framework last summer two major logistic bases were handed over to DHL Express and TNT near Terminal 1, a new ibis Styles Budapest Airport Hotel was opened with direct access to the terminals, this 1st August a new Pier B will be handed over to passengers with an area of more than 10.000 square meters. This summer Budapest Airport will commence the construction of a Cargo City for dedicated freighter airlines and in December the construction of a multi-story car park will begin before Terminal 2.
The total sum of Budapest Airport’s own investments into airport infrastructure goes up to 160-180 million Euros or 52-60 billion HUF.
Photo: bud.hu, MTI