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Roof goes up on Iberia’s new maintenance hangar in Barcelona

Yesterday witnessed the most spectacular and the most delicate moment of the construction of the new Iberia Maintenance hangar at Barcelona airport: the raising of the roof.

  • 1,100 tonne structure raised 25 metres by 14 hydraulic jacks
  • Lifted at 4 metres per hour for about 6 hours
  • Hangar to open in October and begin activity a month later
  • A joint project of Iberia Maintenance (75 per cent) and the Barcelona free port authority (25 per cent)

The roof weighs 1,100 tonnes, including its structural elements weighing 850 tonnes, plus the fire extinguishing and electrical installations. To raise it 14 hydraulic jacks were used, standing on special bases at the sides and rear. They lifted the structure to a height of metres, which will be the maximum height of the working space inside the hangar, although the external height of the building will be 40 metres.

The roof was assembled over a period of five months on the floor of the hangar. It is made of 12,800 steel pipes connected by 3,000 spherical joints, the largest of them weighing 500 kg. It is supported by two lateral arches anchored to the two concrete walls and a series of metal pillars at the rear of the hangar.


The area of the roof is now 11,000 square metres, but on completion it will be increased to 13,150 square metres.

Raised in two stages

The roof was raised in two stages:

On March 19th, it was raised a few centimetres from the floor, so the following tasks could be performed:

  • Verfication of the structural elements and the proper tensioning, to prevent possible deformation.
  • Anchoring of the installations in the upper part.
  • Verification of the strength and operation of all the jacks, four on each side and six in the rear, as well as the guy cables holding them in place.
  • Verification of the uniformity of ascent speed of ascent and maintenance of the planimetrics of the entire structure.

The second stage, completed yesterday, involved:

  • Lifting the structure at an average speed of 4 metres per hour, reaching 25 metres in about 6 hours.

 Remaining tasks now that roof is up

  • Installation of the part of the structure that will stand above the two interior hangar buildings.
  • Disassembling the jacks.
  • Closing the roof and the walls.
  • Installing the aircraft access door, a total of 12, each weighing 40 tonnes measuring about 300 square metres.
  • Installing the vertical windows in the read part, to admit sunlight.
  • Finishing the workshops, offices and other installations.
  • Paving the floor of the hangar and developing the rest of the site.


A unique design

The oval floor plan and the 155 square metres of glass admitting natural light in the rear make the new hangar quite unique and different from others built in Europe.

To facilitate maintenance tasks and for the ensure the comfort of employees, the hangar will have 8 moving connection boxes, or platforms that rise from the floor with connections for water, compressed air, electric power, data lines and telephone lines to be used when and where they are needed; elevated transport then allow technicians to work at any elevation throughout the building; a programmable control panel for opening and closing the 12 doors; and radiant floor heating for optimum comfort in the hangar.

Located very near the Terminal 2 building (formerly Terminal C), the hangar has an area of 13,200 square metres on a site of 24,000 square metres.

In operation at the end of the year

The hangar will be officially opened in October and activity will begin a month later, after all equipment and installations have been tested. The hangar represents an investment of 24 million euros, of which Iberia supplied 7 per cent and the Consorci de la Zona Franca (Freeport Authority) supplied 25 per cent .

The new hangar at Barcelona’s El Prat international airport has a capacity for accommodating two wide-bodied aircraft (e.g. Airbus A340), three medium-bodied (e.g. Boeing B757), four narrow-bodied (e.g. Airbus A320) and the possibility of accommodating today’s largest airliner, the Airbus A380. The building of the hangar, technically supervised by Iberia’s Infrastructures Department, is being carried out by the Cobra Infraestructuras Hidráulicas company.


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