European Investment Bank boosts expansion of Bergen Airport

Located around 20 kilometres south of Bergen city centre, the airport handles more than six million passengers each year, but existing facilities are operating above capacity and many of the airport’s subsystems are heavily congested during peak periods.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has provided a €200 million long-term loan to Norwegian airport operator Avinor AS for the expansion and upgrade of Bergen airport to cater for growing traffic demand and improve passenger services at Norway’s second busiest airport.

Located around 20 kilometres south of Bergen city centre, the airport handles more than six million passengers each year, but existing facilities are operating above capacity and many of the airport’s subsystems are heavily congested during peak periods.

The bank of the European Union has therefore undertaken to finance the construction of a new Terminal 3 and its associated airside and landside facilities. This includes a light rail station, which will improve public transport links between the airport and the city centre.

The EIB places great emphasis on the environmental aspects of the projects it finances. Thus, innovative technologies used for the construction of the new terminal infrastructure will help to reduce specific energy consumption by 30 per cent. As to the light rail station, it will encourage a modal shift from private cars, thus contributing to reduced pollution from road traffic.

“The EIB has made supporting strategic transport infrastructure one of its priorities. Bergen Airport is the key international gateway in western Norway and part of the extended trans-European transport network (TEN-T). We are therefore pleased to support Avinor’s investment, as it will enhance capacity and improve the operational efficiency of Norway’s second busiest airport whilst also increasing its environmental performance,” said Jan Vapaavuori, EIB Vice-President with responsibility for lending in Norway.

As flight schedule data from OAG highlights, Bergen Airport has grown to offer over four million departure seats this decade, but capacity constraints have restricted its continued development after it exceeded the six million annual passenger milestone last year.

In the last couple of years the airport has seen the arrival of Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia and while it lost a domestic link to Bronnoysund and important connections this year to both Edinburgh and Frankfurt, it has seen capacity grow in many key markets, including Amsterdam, London, Oslo and Stockholm. Last year it also welcomed a regular transatlantic link to New York from low-cost carrier Norwegian.

Tri-national flag carrier, SAS Scandinavian Airlines has the largest presence at Bergen with a 37.2 per cent capacity share, albeit Norwegian has been growing its own presence and this year will have 33.8 per cent capacity share. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is the largest international carrier in this market with a 4.4 per cent share, while British Airways has a 2.2 per cent share having only introduced London flights in 2012 (it also links Bergen to Billund, Denmark through its Sun-Air franchise partner).

"Avinor evaluates the different capital markets to secure competitive financing and ensure a solid and robust financial position. Avinor is highly appreciative of the EIB as a sound partner for financing this important project for Avinor at Bergen airport. With this transaction, we reap the benefits of a favourable market and further enhance our financial flexibility," added Dag Falk-Petersen, Chief Executive Officer, Avinor AS.


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