Passing through Oslo Gardermoen airport this evening and apparently the airport celebrates its 20th anniversary this week. Not its 20th anniversary as an airport, the airport has been around for far longer than that, but 20 years as the main international airport of Oslo, replacing the old Fornebu airport, which closed in 1998.
Gardermoen was initially a military airport and the history goes back all the way to the 18th century when the military had a camp on the site. The first flight took off from Gardermoen in 1912 and Gardermoen consequently became a military airport. After the Second World War Braathens SAFE established a technical base at the airport and Gardermoen at the same time became a reserve airport for Fornebu, the main commercial airport of Oslo. In 1972 all charter flights were moved from Fornebu to Gardermoen and the airport became a proper commercial airport.
Already in the 80’s it became clear that Fornebu would not be able to handle all domestic and international flights and to serve as the main airport of Oslo in the long run with its single-runway operation and with a location just 8 km from downtown Oslo. With Gardermoen already available as a fully-functional airport it was an easy choice to move the traffic there, but not without controversy, especially considering the frequent weather issues at Gardermoen due to the high altitude.
The construction of the new airport started in August 1994. A new terminal building was constructed as well as a new eastern runway.
The last flight from Fornebu took off on 7 October 1998. During the night 500 truckloads transported all kinds of equipment to the new airport and the following day, 8 October 1998, the new airport opened.
In 2016 the new extension of the departure hall, the airside transit hall and the shopping area as well as the new Concourse North opened (see photos here) and also brand new arrivals taxfree shop for arriving passengers.
And this week, in October 2018, the airport celebrates its 20th anniversary as the main airport of Oslo. Not much happening today though other than some colourful balloons here and there, but perhaps there were more celebrations two days ago, which was the official opening day.