"When the weather was fine, everyone can do it" - that was the motto of the five-week general renovation of the Salzburg runway. Because due to an almost completely rainy weather, the renovation of the over 60 year old runway had demanded everything from the construction teams and project managers. While the work on runway ran around the clock, there was a yawning void in the terminals - the airport had to shut down its entire operation for five weeks.
Yesterday, however, the faces were radiant when the first aircraft touched down on the freshly asphalted runway and was greeted with a water bow by the fire brigade - a Eurowings Airbus A319, which was transferred from Stuttgart to the Mozart city by the Salzburg-born Captain Bernhard Dallner and his First Officer Markus Siller.
The official "reopening" was preceded by an extensive programme: Salzburg Airport welcomed its approximately 400 invited guests from the worlds of business, politics and aviation with a witty podium talk: Airport Managing Director Bettina Ganghofer and representatives of the construction industry and local politics looked back and talked about the challenge of getting 117,000 tonnes of asphalt clean on the runway under the most adverse weather conditions.
Also on the podium and in demand as interview partner: Eurowings Managing Director Michael Knitter, who, as representative of the market leader in Salzburg, gave assessments and information from an airline perspective. Among other things, he congratulated Salzburg Airport on the timely and on-schedule completion of the important infrastructure, which was not a matter of course.
Afterwards it became loud: Almost 70 Salzburg marksmen marched onto the apron and shot their salute of honour. The Archbishop of Salzburg then blessed the new runway and asked for a good start and a safe return to Salzburg for passengers and crews at all times.
Over the past five weeks, the runway closures at Salzburg Airport had repeatedly attracted a great deal of media attention - far beyond Salzburg and Austria. And so it was no wonder that there was also a large amount of press coverage at the opening: All relevant local and national media were present and collected impressions and voices from the premiere - so Michael Knitter had to give a statement to the ORF about the opening of the railway immediately after his arrival.
The evening's Eurowings "Opening Flight" took off for Olbia on time today - in pouring rain - but when the weather was fine, anyone could do it!