The President of the Republic of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, has opened and declared pre-operational the New Control Tower and the Management and Control Building of the Civil Aviation of El Dorado International Airport. The were constructed by FCC,the Spanish environmental servies, infrastructure and wáter group, in Bogota, 15 kilometres to the west of the Colombian capital city.
In his speech, President Santos noted that this new aviation infrastructure is an accurate reflection of the transformation the country is going through. It is also a symbol of modernity that will bring peace, equality and education to all Colombians, which is the main aim of the current government. Santos went on to say that the new Management Centre at the airport will respond to the growth of airport operations, increasing from 58 to 90 flights every hour. He added that this was an example of the competitiveness that Colombia needs as a country.
The President also celebrated the recent elimination of visa requirements for Colombian citizens to travel to Europe.
After 40 months, an investment of over 50 million euros (155,000 million pesos) and a total surface area of 16,000 square metres, FCC has completed an infrastructure that will service the rise in air traffic volume at El Dorado airport. It is the busiest cargo airport in Latin America (648,000 tonnes per year) and the third busiest passenger airport (20.4 million per year).
The new control tower, standing at around 90 metres tall, is now the tallest and best equipped tower in Latin America. The air traffic control systems have been developed to guarantee the best air navigation service in the region.
The new facilities were opened after Colombia’s aerospace authorities visited the simulation and control rooms, finishing with a trip to the controller room where the President was able to see first-hand the operation for contacting aircraft in real time.
Also in attendance at the event were the Minister of Transport, Natalia Abello, and the Director of Civil Aeronautics, Gustavo Lenis, representing the Government of Colombia along with, amongst others, Carlos M. Jarque, executive director and CEO of FCC, Vicente Mohedano, managing director of FCC Construcción, José María Torroja, director of the Latin America Area, Pedro Collado, director of the company in Colombia, and Emilio Otermín, construction project manager.
The control tower has been designed to meet the requirements for the airport’s air traffic control service, primarily in critical areas. This will reinforce the safety, regulations and alertness demanded by the airspace users. It will also guarantee maximum operational capacity of the airfield and will update technology to be at the global forefront.
This new tower will comprise two cabins, one for air traffic control and another for controlling the SDPM platform, which guarantee 360-degree visibility of the airport and line of sight to the heads of each runway.
With this project, one of the most important aviation infrastructure projects awarded by the Columbian Civil Aviation Authority, and carried out by FCC, the country will have a modern facility in line with future needs and challenges to provide air traffic services and air navigation in the continent of America.
Experience with airport infrastructure in Colombia
FCC has extensive experience in highly complex airport projects all over the world. Its most noteworthy projects include the T1 passenger terminal at Barcelona’s El Prat airport, the T4 terminal at Madrid-Barajas airport and the platform at Riga airport in Latvia.
FCC’s presence in Colombia dates back to the 1980s with the construction of the Medellín Metro. FCC was recently awarded the contract for the Toyo Tunnel worth 392 million euros. The Citizen Services Group is currently carrying out the Bogota River dredging project in the vicinity of the capital.
The Bogota River project aims to improve water quality, prevent flooding and recover the riverbed as a multi-purpose and recreational area. The project also includes the expansion of the riverbed over a 40-kilometre stretch near the west of the capital city.
In addition, FCC Industrial is currently working on the signalling system for the Medellín Metro.