Rome Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport
Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport is the principle airport serving the city of Rome, Italy. The airport, also known by the airport code FCO, sees about 38 million passengers pass through its gates each year and is the busiest in Italy. It also ranks as the sixth busiest in Europe and in the top 25 of the busiest airports in the world. The airport is located to the west of the historic center of Rome and is now surrounded by the suburban sprawl of the city.
The airport is predominately named for artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci. Da Vinci is known for paintings such as the Mona Lisa and for inventions such as the helicopter. The Fiumicino portion of the name refers to the city where the airport is located. The airport opened for operations in 1961although some portions of the facility were placed in use a year earlier to aid in handling the passenger load associated with the Olympic Games of 1960. The facility has seen extensive additions as well as upgrades over the years.
The airport uses three terminals to handle its passenger load. Terminal 3 provides facilities for international flights to and from non-Schengen countries. The Schengen treaty allows passengers from the 26 countries that are part of the treaty to move across borders without passing through customs. In addition, a terminal labeled Terminal 5 is isolated from the other passenger facilities and allows for departures to the United States and Israel. Terminals 1 and 2 serve domestic flights within Italy as well as air service to countries within the Schengen Treaty boundaries. There is not a Terminal 4 at this time.
The terminals offer a full range of amenities for passengers including free wireless Internet as well as special services for travelers with mobility problems, conference rooms and a business center. The airport offers a number of car parks located near the terminals with a shuttle bus service available to bring passengers from their cars to the terminals. The shuttle bus is also available for passengers moving from terminal to terminal.
Rome Fiumicino Airport Operations
Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport operates four runways. The predominant runways are two parallel landing strips of about 3,900 meters or 12,800 feet. The other runways all exceed 3,300 meters or about 11,000 feet and all are equipped with lights and instrument landing systems. The airport handles about 350,000 take offs and landings each year and is capable of handling up to 30 flight operations each hour. However, fog or inclement weather can cut the number of take offs or landings by more than half.
Recent upgrades have included a new baggage system that has improved the efficiency of the baggage transfer from flight to flight and the construction of a freight terminal named Cargo City. Cargo City handles perishable items as well as standard airfreight, hazardous items, and live animals. Onsite services include customs, health inspections, and import/export documentation.
Future plans for Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport include additional terminal space with additional gates and check-in counters. This first expansion would increase the airports capacity to about 55 million people. A second phase of expansion looks many years into the future. This expansion includes adding or replacing four terminals and increasing the passenger capacity to about 100 million passengers each year.