Bari Karol Wojtyła Airport
Bari Karol Wojtyła Airport, also known as Palese Airport or BRI to the IATA and LIBD to the ICAO, is an airport serving the city of Bari in Italy. It is a focus city for Ryanair. In 2021 there were 3,289,239 passengers served with 32,939 aircraft movements. There is one runway: 07/25, which is 9,842 feet (asphalt).
BRI originated as a military airfield in the 1930s, built by Regia Aeronautica. In 1943, the British seized the airport during the Italian Campaign of WWII, and it was utilized as an Allied airfield by the Royal Air Force and the US Army Twelfth and Fifteenth Air Forces. As such, the base was used as an operational airfield and a command and control base. Moreover, the base was also used by the Italian Co-Belligerent Air Force and the Balkan Air Force. At the culmination of WWII, the base was turned over to the Airforce of the Italian Republic. Civil aviation at BRI began in the 1960s, with regularly scheduled Alitalia flights to Rome, Catania, Palermo, Ancona, and Venice. Later on, the routes were taken over by ATI, and a new runway was constructed when the airline began to utilize the DC-9-30. As the military complex was still used as a passenger terminal, a new terminal was also needed. It was completed in 1981. The 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy brought about more expansions and renovations. This included the runway extension and the terminal renovation (which was yet again renovated in 2000). As it became apparent that the original terminal building (which was supposed to be a cargo terminal but was converted to a passenger terminal) was limited, construction of a new passenger terminal began in 2002. It opened in 2005, with upgraded parking options and a newly renovated runway. A new air traffic control tower was completed the following year, while the runway was extended again. Moreover, in 2007 work began on the extension of the passenger terminal, with four new jet bridges and a new multi-story parking garage.
The airport is loacted five miles northwest of the center of Bari.
- The airport is named after Pope John Paul II, who was born Karol Wojtyła.
- Pope John Paul II consecrated the Prayer Room at BRI on February 2nd, 1984.
- FBOs at BRI include Sky Services S.p.a. and Universal Aviation.
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