Cortina d’Ampezzo airport closed in the late sixties. There used to be small scale airline flights in there.
However, as you may expect, there were a couple of bad accidents and the airport was subsequently closed. However, the runway was never built upon. It even retained its ICAO code, LIDI.
Now there are good hopes that the airport might re-open. The initiative is from the local economy. Cortina, once on top of all italian mountain resorts, has lost a lot of business over the last decades, since it is so tedious to reach by car.
Long news article here (italian only): http://corrieredelveneto.corriere.it/veneto/notizie/cronaca/2015/25-agosto-2015/cortina-piano-riaprire-l-aeroporto-fondi-una-cordata-imprenditori-2301829834506.shtml
Here’s a current photo of the place:
The runway is 1200 metres long and say is they want to extend it to 1600 metres.
They say they want to do scheduled flights with medium sized turboprop aircraft. Hard to immagine how they want to get through with it, with all the environmental concerns, natural parks, etc. they are talking about 2016.
For GA it would be great. However, the devil is in the detail. Will there be any operating restrictions for GA?
For private GA, the best thing would be if it became merely an aviosuperficie (with approval for commercial flights, such as Sondrio (LIKO)). If it is going to be an aeroporto, that will mean much longer timeframes to get it going, more bureaucracy, more cost, etc.
Recently, an ultralight pilot landed there. In Italy, ultralights are allowed to land anywhere, as long as the owner of the area gives his consent. Unfortunately, the pilot didn’t answer to me when I asked him if he obtained that and who the owner actually was.
In any case, he said that there are a few potholes in the runway (remarkable, just a “few” ones, after icing up every winter for 50 years…).
Stay tuned. Would be great if something became out of this.
An interesting story, thanks! I found only two accident reports for the Aeralpi 1 company, but both rather chilling.
As for “a few” potholes: I think you know at least as well as I how relative such an expression can be in Italy
Interesting, too, that Sondrio (I think it is coded LILO rather than LIKO) should have commercial service, at least charter/airtaxi, while not being a formal aeroporto. That must have required some long arguments with various authorities.
1 there is a company of that name today, but apparently not connected to the historical operator at Cortina.
Cortina, once on top of all italian mountain resorts, has lost a lot of business over the last decades, since it is so tedious to reach by car.
It is not more or less difficult to reach than all the other mountain resorts in that area (or generally in the Alps). And nobody tells me that the handful of people that could be carried there using the Twin Otters in the picture above made any significant difference in the tourist statistics. The problem with that area is not the accessibility, but the general lack of snow. I used to go skiing in the Dolomites throughout the 1980ies, but then it stopped snowing there and I prefer not to ski at all compared to some narrow strips of artificial snow between rocks and pastures. And I guess I am not the only one – at least according to the statistics.
For GA it would be great.
Maybe, but the cost would be prohibitive. With today’s regulations no decent commercial operation can be installed on a 1200m runway with close-in obstacles on all four sides. Compared to this place, Lugano, Samedan and Bolzano are easy-access airfields and already those are regulated in such way, that profitable commercial aoperations are almost impossible, unless subsidised. The best example here is Samedan which lost it’s subsidies and must recover all costs from landing and parking fees. This made operations so prohibitively explensive (at least for aircraft over 2 tons) that only a handful of super wealthy customers will chose to fly there. The same will happen to Cortina sooner or later.
Thanks for the info, very interesting. I’ve been through and to Cortina probably 50 times since I first rented a motorcycle, flew to the UK and rode there solo when I was 25, but I had no idea the airport was there. Normally I’d get there via the pass to the east, versus coming down the valley.
The logic of ‘opening’ and closing airports evades me in any case. An airport is a strip of blacktop on the ground, and once in a place essentially nothing else is required from anybody other than the pilot. Maybe a little maintenance in the spring, just like the short stretch of road along side the runway. Looks like the ultralight guy had fun anyway.
“Un chilometro di strada porta da A a B. Un chilometro di pista porta in tutto il mondo” (as somebody commented about the newspaper article)
I wish more people would share that view.
Unfortunately “airport” is always associated with huge facilities for passengers and security and cargo and what else not :-(
As if every road needs to be a high speed highway just so you can drive on it …
That’s actually a slogan Cirrus uses ;-)
The airport looks great, but it’s probably not for the faint hearted.
Did you know there even is a runway right at (or near, at least) the very highest point of Silvaire’s route “via the pass to the east”, at the Passo del Tonale?
Check it out – but this one is still less for the fainthearted, meseemeth, if only for its altitude of 5938’.
An airport is a strip of blacktop on the ground, and once in a place essentially nothing else is required from anybody other than the pilot.
In Europe? Not likely. Here everything has to be regulated and overseen by people right at the place. Otherwise the evil citizens could be up to something. I would imagine that if Cortina really reopens the first thing which will happen is that the financial police opens a trap there to catch their citizens. Cortina was almost ruined a few years ago by that financial police when they hunted tax evaders up there. In Europe you are under general suspicion with everything you do and that is why they want to have people to watch you and report any deviation the moment they catch you at it. So an airport without a policeman, genuine or imagined, is simply outside the thinking scope of the European bureaucrat.
It would be lovely if Cortina was re-opened but I do hope it won´t be left to business hazardeurs who only will see their imagined scheduled services and high profile biz jets and see small GA as a nuissance which has to be eradicated, if not just to placate the local anti noise groups. Samedan is the typical example how such stuff can go badly wrong if greedy people take over an airport without thinking far enough that small aviation also makes them money.
Mooney Driver, I guess it’s true what you say about airports, but OTOH you can ride a motorcycle around that same area in the Dolomites in a way that would be viewed with a certain amount of intolerance in many other places. I think it’s just a matter of what people are used to seeing.
@Jan, I think either you or Boscomantico posted before about that high runway on Passo del Tonale, because I remember looking it up at the time That would be a long way to the west of Cortina, on the other side of the Brenner. The pass into Cortina from the east that I mentioned is Passo Tre Croci, which when leaving Cortina takes you in due course up to Lago di Misurina (a beautiful place) and from there to Austria.