An air traffic diversion has been lifted at Stuttgart Airport as partial runway works have been completed. On 6th April, workers at the German airport were able to prematurely begin the renewal of the runway as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Some airlines are now able to fly out of the airport again. One example is Eurowings, who resumed flights on 23rd April.
Partial runway renewal is completed at Stuttgart Airport
On 6th April, Stuttgart Airport was able to begin work renewing its runway. The airport, based in the German state of Baden-Württemberg, had been expecting to start its renovation on the 23rd April. However, uncertainty about the coronavirus and a presumed decrease in air traffic activity meant that it could push this date back. As a result, the initial work to develop the runway has now been complete, and some airlines can use the runway again.
In the two and a half week period between 6th April and 22nd April, construction teams at Stuttgart Airport carried out work to replace a section of concrete close to the runway. During this period, it stopped all flights coming into the airport so that the work could be carried out.
The CEO of Stuttgart Airport said that the early start meant he could be more confident that these vital works were completed on time. Walter Schoefer told Airside International:
“The earlier start of construction gives us more certainty for completing the partial renewal on time, despite the effects of the corona pandemic. The pandemic can also have an impact on the staff of the companies contracted and on supply chains. In view of the decline in passenger numbers, we have therefore decided to adjust our plans and start construction work early. The seventeen days ahead of schedule without any flight operations will allow our experts to carry out many of the complex works in larger steps“.
Three days after work was completed and airlines are already back in operation at the airport. However, the runway renewal at Stuttgart is not yet complete.
Work continues on the runway
The airport is now entering the first stage of the renewal, which will reduce the runway’s length by around 41%. Between 23rd April and 20th May, the runway will be just 1,965 meters long. After this work is completed, Stuttgart will move onto the second phase of renewal. The runway length will be increased to 2,475 meters but will still only be two-thirds of its regular length. Work in this phase will be carried out from 21st May. By this summer, 17th June, the entire runway’s reconstruction will be completed.
While Eurowings has been able to get back up and running in Stuttgart, the construction work at the German airport is still affecting other carriers. Delta Air Lines said earlier in the year that it would stop flying between Atlanta and Stuttgart due to the runway restrictions. The airline operates a Boeing 767-300 on the direct service, but the size of the aircraft means that the runway at Stuttgart will not be long enough at any point while works are being carried out.
As a result, it has decided to terminate all flights there until the end of the construction.
Eurowings resumes flights
One airline that was particularly jubilant to see work completed at Stuttgart Airport was Eurowings. It was the first aircraft to take off at the airport when the restrictions were lifted.
STR wieder am Netz: Als erstes hob heute diese @Eurowings-Maschine nach Berlin ab. Infos zu aktuellen Reisebestimmungen: https://t.co/mTsvZuY17z #staySTRong #flySTR #stuttgart #flughafen #wewillflyyouagain #wingsforgermany pic.twitter.com/5xBlr6hSVK
— Flughafen Stuttgart (@STR_Airport) April 23, 2020
— Eurowings (@eurowings) April 24, 2020
At 05:05 UTC, flight number EW2002 took off from Stuttgart Airport. The A319 registered as D-AGWY left for Berlin Tegel Airport with a flight time of 53 minutes.
Although Eurowings has reduced its schedule by 90%, the airline will continue using Stuttgart in the future. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the carrier will be flying some adjusted routes to Düsseldorf, Hamburg, and Cologne to meet demand.
Do you share Eurowings’ joy that airlines can resume flying out of Stuttgart? Let us know what you think in the comments.