20 years of rapid growth transform Cluj into “one of the most dynamic airports in Europe”

airport-profile-2Over the last two decades, sustained and rapid traffic development has led Cluj “Avram Iancu” International Airport to its current position as Romania’s biggest regional airport. The gateway to Transylvania has grown from 32,000 passengers in 1996 to almost two million in 2016, with its location just 10km from Cluj-Napoca city centre (Romania’s second-biggest business centre) combined with a strategy of infrastructure and route development, key to that progression, says Airport-Business.com.

2016 will see a record 1.8 million passengers handled (+21% year-on-year) driven by a doubling of the number of airlines operating at Cluj from four to eight, and 50% growth in the route network from 25 to 37 destinations.

David Ciceo has been Managing Director of Cluj “Avram Iancu” International Airport throughout the 20 years of sustained development, and has been its real driving force. In conversation with Airport Business, his passion for the success of the airport and the whole region shines through. “This journey as Managing Director of Cluj International Airport always seemed to bring an equivalent number of rewards and new challenges in our activity,” he says. “For example, an important step in this journey happened in September 1996, when we obtained the government decision which granted Cluj International Airport the right to start international flight operations. As a result, we had the opportunity to open international traffic, but the main challenge of this reward was how to enable airlines to reach the Cluj Airport catchment area by delivering them the strategic infrastructure required by international aviation regulations.”

In 2004, when the airport’s throughput was just 160,000, it envisaged a significant traffic increase resulting from Romania’s EU accession in 2007. Its studies showed demand for infrastructure to handle one million passengers by 2015. In reality, that figure was reached five years earlier, in 2010, but its foresight in developing its infrastructure meant it was ready and avoided a capacity crunch.

“Being Managing Director of a small airport in 1996 was a great motivation for me to try and turn the odds for Cluj International Airport and transform it into one of the most dynamic airports in Europe”, David Ciceo enthuses. “The main challenges of this rapid development were the need for infrastructure modernisation projects that would improve the quality of services offered to both airlines and passengers, and the difficulties in attracting more and more travellers from an extended catchment area”, added David Ciceo.

The first phase of the new runway project was completed in 2013, and its extension from 2,100m to 3,500m is one of the most important infrastructure developments for the coming years. There are also plans to expand both the security control and boarding gate areas.


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