Oslo Airport Fornebu

Oslo Airport, Fornebu

Oslo Airport, Fornebu (Norwegian: Oslo lufthavn, Fornebu) was the main airport serving Oslo, Norway before it closed in 1998. It was located in the municipality of Bærum and opened on June 1, 1939.

Operations at Fornebu ceased on October 8, 1998 when the new airport in Gardermoen opened. The seaplane base in the airport is still operating after the closing of the airport.


Originally land flights to Oslo landed at Kjeller and sea planes at Gressholmen, an awkward solution for the Oslo region. The City of Oslo decided along with the Norwegian Ministry of Defence to build a new airport, and decided on Fornebu, a peninsula in the then rural municipality of Bærum, as the best spot. The City of Oslo bought the land, and started construction.

When the airport opened June 1 1939, it had three runways (two 800 meters and one 700 meters) and also a seaplane port. The airport also contained numerous buildings, including an administrative building, a hangar, a control tower and a terminal. The first aircraft to land at Fornebu was a Douglas DC-2 from KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.

During World War II the German invasion forces expanded the airport with new buildings and extended the north/south runway to 1200 meters. After the war, the City of Oslo gave the airport to the government, on the condition that the city receive the land if the airport was closed. In 1962 a new east/west runway was opened, at 2370 meters, that lasted the rest of the airport's lifetime. A new terminal was opened in 1964, later expanded with three piers.

Fornebu too small

Fornebu airport was dimensioned for two million passengers per year. By 1996 the annual passenger load had reached ten million, and there were no available slots in the morning and afternoon. Fornebu had only one operational runway and no room for expansion, with sea on three and a half sides. Noise was a problem for the nearby residential areas. And despite the airport's proximity to the city center, there was no effective public transport. The only solution was to build a new airport.

After several decades of discussing the location of "den nye hovedflyplassen" (literally the new main airport), and after considering such locations as Rygge and Hurum, parliament decided in 1992 to build the new airport on the site of an existing airfield at Gardermoen, 50 km north of Oslo. On October 7 1998 the last plane left Fornebu, and during that night everything and everyone moved to the new airport.

Post airport

After the airport closed, a massive project was started to construct a large research facility for IT and telecommunications companies, the largest being Telenor. A large housing complex is also being built and a new automated light rail will open in 2009.

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