27 Mar, 2023 @ 14:51
1 min read

Gibraltar government secures limited use of airport crossing as tunnel opens under the runway

Gib Lit Fest 4
People stream in and out of Gibraltar across the border all day. Credit: Walter Finch

WITH the motor vehicle tunnel under the runway due to open later this week, the Gibraltar Government signed a deal with the MoD to continue limited use of the runway.

Pedestrians, cyclists, scooter-users and even the occasional emergency vehicle will be able to cross the runway in the new agreement.

The government sealed their Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Defence to allow the exceptions to the rule.

It will change traffic flow at the airport for the first time since it opened in 1941.

Earlier this month, the government announced the airport tunnel would open at the end of March.

A significant legal dispute with Spanish construction company OHL kept the project from completion after it started in 2008.

Government Chief Secretary Darren Grech and Command Secretary Sarah Bayless on behalf of the Secretary of State for Defence signed the MoU with the MoD.

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AGREED: Gibraltar government and Ministry of Defence sign new deal on limited crossing of the runway

Chief Minister Fabian Picardo, Chief Technical Officer Hector Montado and Commander British Forces Tom Guy were present at the signing.

Emergency services will only be able to cross the runway after a special request to the MoD, the agreement stated.

“I am very pleased that the Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the MoD that will allow pedestrians to continue to cross the runway,” Picardo said.

“This is environmentally significant and positive.

“The system for pedestrians to cross the runway will also be different from what we are used to, so please pay close attention to the new signs and instructions,” he added.

Originally the sight of a racecourse, the airport played an influential part in the Second World War during the defence of Gibraltar and attack on Nazi-controlled Africa.

The airport handled pre-pandemic volumes of about half a million passengers a year.

Both British Airways and Easyjet fly into the airport every week from destinations across the UK.

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