The American-led foreign expeditionary forces in Afghanistan have re-opened Bagram Airfield on 15 December 2013, a US Air Force spokesperson confirmed.
“The first USAF F-16 fighters flew in from Kandahar Airfield. They will use Bagram now for close-air support for coalition ground forces”, according to the spokesperson.
The main runway had to be renovated, a process which took 121 days to complete. Subcontractors also lengthened the runway to 2,000 feet to have fighter jets operate from the airfield. In the mean time Bagram was never fully closed for aircraft that require less luxury conditions, hosting 92,000 operations (!) on a temporary runway.
According to the USAF’s 457th Fighter Squadron commander his Fighting Falcons need more tarmac at Bagram than at many other locations. “Bagram is at a higher elevation and the higher the altitude gets, the higher our landing speeds are,” said Lt. Col. John Marusa. “We use a lot more runway than usual.”
A longer runway now also means cargo aircraft can come in with heavier loads. Bagram is the busiest single-runway airstrip of the US military.
Source: US Air Force