Work on an airport in northern Norway with a runway long enough to accommodate jets for the first time will start this year after a successful fundraising project by local people, Life in Norway reports.
The Helgeland region has for years been lobbying the Norwegian government to fund a new airport to replace Mo i Rana in Nordland county.
At present the runway is too short to accommodate jet aircraft, so the area is served by propeller-driven planes that don’t carry enough fuel to reach Oslo, some 700km away, which the local government sees as a brake on the region’s economy.
The government last year offered $310m in funding for a new Mo i Rana, on condition that the municipality raised at least $50m and the local business community a further $17m. These funds have now been obtained, allowing the scheme to go ahead.
The plan is to install a 2.4km runway that is able to accommodate jets used by carriers such as SAS, Norwegian and Flyr, and giving Helgeland an intercontinental range. This is expected to increase the annual number of passengers using the airport well beyond its present 100,000.
The scheme will be overseen by Arctic Circle Airport Development, a company set up by the airport’s backers for that purpose. When complete, it will continue to be operated by Avinor, the state-owned company that runs Norway’s civil airports.
Avinor commented in a press release that the first two preconstruction contracts, for drainage and road access, had been announced and would be awarded before summer. The main construction contact is expected to be awarded in June.
When complete, the airport will facilitate other projects, most notably a production plant for Freyr Batteries.