THE building of an airport has stringent standards and a certain flavour about it of an engineer's workshop, writes Carol Miers.
The jigsaw pieces are from many professions architectural, electronic, public sector, security, hygiene, logistics, legislative, municipal and many others.
And as we walked out onto the new runway, or piste, at Brive Airport - Vallée de la Dordogne the guide was smiling, as she knew this was the highlight.
"They came from Paris to build this," we were told. "Flattening the small hills and bumps, evaluating the site for archaeological remains, making an immaculate finish."
The vastness of the landscape now evident as all the obstructions have been removed. Not only flat, but each line perfectly straight, the 48m width and 3km length, a long stretch for any athletics day, but here all the running will be by the aeroplanes.
But will they come? It is a question many may well ask. Will this airport fill a gap between Rodez, Toulouse and Bergerac, welcoming tourists in their thousands?
Signs to Rocamadour on the motorway, give some hope.
In five years' time Brive Airport hopes to welcome around 50,000 visitors, for now flights will start in June to London and Paris, but the airport already has an eye on a link to the international hub at Lyon, and maybe flights to The Netherlands (...continued after images).
Photographs of Brive Airport - Vallée de la Dordogne:
This airport has been designed from scratch, purpose built, considered and thought out, here the pleasant architecture, the local stone, brown laminate style exterior, shimmering tubes for the flow of air conditioning.
The smile of the tour guide gets wider, the control tower and airport buildings she says – pointing from the window across the landscape – have been built low to minimise their impact on the environment.
There will be no freight flights because they usually fly at night so local residents won't be disturbed.
In the far distance is the ILS, the Instrument Landing system, an attempt to overcome delays to flights caused by weather changes.
The need for reliable and predictable travel, alongside narrow profit margins within airline companies, must be considered.
But what comes to mind is the recent Icelandic volcano eruption, and whether the ILS has an air gun for blowing away ash.
Will Brive Airport become a modern oasis, hotels rising around it like ant hills?
Unlikely, but perhaps a steady stream of travellers will add to the flow and flux of people as the aeroplanes take to the skies, adding to the 30,000 daily trips that travel across Europe in the days of carbon reduction and fast track living.
Brive Airport - Vallée de la Dordogne welcomes its first flight on Tuesday June 15, 2010 from Paris Orly; flights to London City Airport start on June 25 by CityJet and operate Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
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