Peretola Airport, Florence Airport (Aeroporto di Firenze) or Amerigo Vespucci Airport is an airport located close to Florence, Italy, but administratively located within the territory of Sesto Fiorentino. It is one of two main airports in the Tuscany region, the other being Galileo Galilei Airport in Pisa.
It is a small airport, with a single runway and the main taxiway is situated at the end of runway 05, with an overshoot/holding area at the end of runway 23. As is common with smaller airports, after landing planes turn around at the end of the runway, they taxi back down the runway to reach the parking area and terminal.
Peretola was a great field where airplanes landed and took off without any mandatory direction until the Ministry of Aeronautics decided to enlarge and upgrade the now aged flight field. The airport area was extended toward Castello, and in 1938-39 an asphalt runway 60 meters wide and 1,000 meters long, oriented in the north-east direction, was built.
In the late 1940s Peretola welcomed its first passenger flights with the DC-3 Aerea Teseo. In 1948, however, this company went out of business. In the late Fifties and early Sixties Alitalia, also using the DC3, offered the flights Rome-Florence-Venice and Rome-Florence-Milan. ATI then offered several domestic flights with the Fokker F27. In the early Eighties it was decided to upgrade the airport facilities to let Peretola "take off" again.
In 1984 Saf, now AdF (the company which manages the airport) was founded and in the same year the restructuring work was completed: lengthening (from 1,000 to 1,400 meters) and lighting of the runway, installation of the VOR-DME, and rebuilding of the airport terminal. In September 1986 regular flights started again. Since then the number of airplanes and passengers has steadily increased.
In 1990, after a debate that involved Florence's politicians and intellectuals, the airport was named after Amerigo Vespucci the great Florentine navigator.
In 1992 the building now dedicated to arrivals, constructed by AdF, was inaugurated. Two years later Civilavia inaugurated the new departures building. Also in 1994 the City of Florence opened the new car park at the entrance to the airport. Improvements in quality were obvious, but definitive upgrading of the airport took place in 1996 when the take-off and landing runway was lengthening by 250 meters and AdF provided for further enlargement of the departure area. Today the new area covers a total of 1,200 square meters, 770 of which are for public use, and it has 15 check-in desks.
Since April 9, 1998, AdF has had a global concession for managing the airport infrastructures, and it has assumed responsibility for the maintenance and development of Florence Airport.
In late 1999 projects for restructuring and enlargement began, involving the departures and arrivals terminals, the aircraft parking areas and other areas dedicated to the operational and commercial management of the airport. In July 2000 AdF made it debut on the stock market and in 2001 Amerigo Vespucci was among the first European airports to obtain UNI EN ISO 9001/2000 certification for the quality of its services.
The airport is connected with the city by a bus service from the central railway station every half hour, operated by the local Florence city bus company ATAF.