Bernie Baldwin

When your airport sits in the region known as “the economic engine of Italy”, life is never likely to be dull.

And right now there is plenty happening at Milan Bergamo Airport (BGY), according to its director of commercial aviation, Giacomo Cattaneo.

“The airport is undergoing a series of important infrastructure developments,” he declares. “In December 2018, we extended the apron, adding eight aircraft stands, bringing the total capacity to 47 C-class aircraft stands  simultaneously.

“The East extension of the terminal is planned to be inaugurated by April 2020 and will be dedicated to non-Schengen departures, having 10 gates on 2 floors. In 2021, we will extend the terminal to the West and that will be the  Schengen departures extension,” Cattaneo explains.

“Between 2021 and 2022, we plan to have a new cargo area built in the north part of the airport. It will have a dedicated road access system, thus separating the flows dedicated to cargo from those dedicated to passengers, which will remain where they are now.

“Also, a direct train link to the airport is planned – that’s for 2023. The train will link Milan central station directly to Milan Bergamo Airport,” he comments, before adding enthusiastically, “And those are only the major projects!”

Located in the centre of Lombardy, Milan Bergamo has on its doorstep the largest concentration of people in the Eastern part of the region. “Our catchment area is not just Milan (the largest city/province), but also Brescia (over 1.2 million people), Bergamo (over 1.1 million people) and Monza-Brianza (just under 1 million people),” Cattaneo notes. “Out of the 10 million people living in the region, 3 million are in the province of Milan and another nearly 5  are located to our eastern side. This heavy concentration of people is accompanied by the highest concentration in Italy of active firms/companies, as well as the top per-capita GDP. Our potential outgoing market is dense and wealthy.

“We attract incoming passengers for business and for city breaks (Milan, Bergamo, Brescia, Mantova and Verona), the lakes (Garda, Como and Iseo), skiing and the mountains (Valtellina, Livigno and others). It’s a perfect balance  between incoming and outgoing traffic, with good potential both ways,” he says.

New services for the airport are testament to these pull factors. The winter season will see flights from BGY develop with a range of new routes, seasonal extensions and increased frequencies.

Service to Rome Fiumicino will go to 21 a week with Alitalia; London Gatwick with British Airways (a new carrier at BGY) go six weekly (seven a week in December), this new route having started on 1 September; Ryanair services  to Tbilisi go to 4 a week, to Aqaba, twice weekly and Agadir, twice weekly. Previously a summer route, but now continuing throughout winter will be Wizz Air’s twice-weekly service to Varna. A similar move to year round is  happening with TUIfly Belgium’s twice-weekly Casablanca flights, which began in June 2019. Also going year-round is the Amman service operated three times a week by Ryanair. The carrier’s Marseilles route will operate four  times weekly as it continues into the winter season.

Extra flights will be added for Winter 2019-20 on Ryanair services to London Stansted, Barcelona, Prague and Lisbon; Pobeda will increase frequency to Moscow Vnukovo. Laudamotion’s twice-weekly service to Düsseldorf – a  new route in Summer 2019 – will go to five a week.