Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport will formally open its new runway today at 11.30 CEST, marking the completion of one of the major infrastructure projects undertaken by operator VINCI since taking over the concession in late 2018. The opening ceremony will be attended by Belgrade Airport’s General Manager, Francois Berisot and the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić. The new 12R/30L runway is 3.500-metres long and sixty metres wide, It features a flexible pavement meaning that the asphalt “bends” or “deflects” due to traffic loads, making it less susceptible to damage and requiring fewer repairs over time. Furthermore, it boasts a modern drainage system to ensure the better flow of water and improve safety, as well as a new LED lighting system.
Although the new runway will be formally opened today, it was already in use by select flights yesterday. The first aircraft operating a commercial flight to touch down on the new runway was an Air Serbia A319 arriving from Moscow. It was followed by flights from New York, Ankara and Bucharest, while Nouvelair took the honours of becoming the first foreign carrier to touch down, arriving from Monastir. Dubbed as the “inserted” runway due to its location in between the existing one and the main parallel taxiway, it will replace the present 3.400-metre runway, which was built in the 1960s and will be overhauled in the coming period. Once its reconstruction is completed, the newly built runway will become a parallel taxiway besides the original one. The two will be linked through a new system of taxiways, including four rapid exit taxiways (RETs), for which exits have already been built. The newly constructed runway will also be used in the future, should the main one be unable to handle aircraft for whatever reason. The overhaul of the existing main runway will commence this year.
The Serbian government requested for the construction of the inserted runway as part of the terms of the airport concession. VINCI has also completed a number of other airside projects over the past few years. They include the 22.000-square-metre apron E, the extension of apron C and taxiway F, which are now 20.000 square metres, accompanied by a new lighting and drainage system, as well as the reconstruction and extension of apron B, which now features a flexible pavement, similar to the new runway. Furthermore, the de-icing platform has been expanded by an additional 6.000 square metres for a total of 26.000 square metres, while the perimeter road around the airport has been reconstructed.
This news item will update during the day.