Airport expansion to aid families

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Families flying out of Oslo’s main airport at Gardermoen can look forward to less stressful security control from next week. A new, separate security line will open for adults traveling with children, part of the larger expansion of Oslo’s main airport over the next four years.

Traveling with children may get easier after a new security queue opens for families next week at Oslo's main airport at Gardermoen. It's part of an major airport expansion project. PHOTO: OSL

Traveling with children may get easier after a new security queue opens for families next week at Oslo’s main airport at Gardermoen. It’s part of a major airport expansion project. PHOTO: OSL

The new priority security queue, reserved for families traveling with children, will start up as a trial program next week. If successful, it will become a permanent feature at Oslo airport, as it is, for example, at London’s Gatwick airport. Children will be given the VIP treatment that is currently reserved for business- and first-class passengers.

“We’re expecting it to be very popular,” the airport’s administrative director Nic Nilsen told newspaper Aftenposten. The extra queue will, it is hoped, mean a quicker security check-in for all travelers. The airport hasn’t put any age limit on it as yet.

The new security queue is part of a larger expansion currently underway at Gardermoen. The airport needs to increase its capacity to be able to handle an expected 28 million passengers a year. The current terminal will be expanded and a new pier will be built at the northern part of the airport to allow for more aircraft. The terminal will also get new departure and arrival areas, and a new baggage handling facility.

The bad news for passengers is that five gates at the northern part of the existing terminal, situated right after the security checkpoint, will close while construction of the new pier is underway.  Many planes will now need to park farther from the terminal and many passengers, especially on international flights, will have to be bussed from their plane to the terminal.

Construction of the new pier starts this Thursday. It will, when completed, provide 21 new ramps or “aprons” where planes can park, and a new taxiway for aircraft to and from the runways.

The development, which also involves construction of a southern pier as a temporary addition to the main terminal, will cost NOK 12.5 billion (around USD 2 billion) and is expected to be completed in 2017.

According to Nilsen of OSL, 40 percent of the work related to the expansion of the current terminal is now completed. “Reorganization will take place at the end of this month, and there will be some restrictions in the number of arrivals per hour, but we don’t believe it will have any major consequences for travelers,” he told Aftenposten.

OSL has been named Europe’s most punctual airport four times by the AEA (Association of European Airlines). It served 22 million passengers in 2012, amounting to almost 60,000 passengers per day.

Views and News from Norway/Elizabeth Lindsay

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