Fifty years ago, on 16 July 1970, the company named Società per l’Aeroporto Civile di Bergamo Orio al Serio – SACBO, was incorporated in the offices of the Chamber of Commerce in Bergamo. This deed was the logical conclusion to a process that had begun two years earlier, when the idea of initiating civil aviation on the existing military airport, dating to 1939, was envisaged.

The major players in those stages of the company’s foundation were Attilio Vicentini, who  was then president of the Chamber of Commerce, and who would become the first chairman of SACBO; Giacomo Pezzotta, who was Mayor of Bergamo; Giovanni Giavazzi, president of the Province of Bergamo; Gianni Porfidia, Mayor of Orio al Serio; Bernardi Sestini, president of the Taramelli aero club; and Carlo Pesenti, chairman of Italcementi.

From the operational point of view, on 16 July 1971, exactly one year after SACBO’s incorporation, the Italian Civil Aviation Authority granted its approval for starting flying operations, making it possible to initiate routes to Rome, Cagliari, Alghero and Catania.
The first civil flight was made on 21 March 1972, when an Itavia DC9 set out for Rome Ciampino, taking off from a runway which at that time was 1,800 metres long. By the end of the next decade, it had been progressively extended to 2,800 metres.

In 1999, for the first time Orio al Serio airport exceeded the number of a million passengers handled in a year.
An important step forward in passenger transport was taken on 14 February 2002, St. Valentine’s Day, chosen by Ryanair for the inauguration of its operations at Orio al Serio Airport, with a flight from Frankfurt Hahn on which a marriage was celebrated.
In 2003, the year in which Ryanair opened its operational base, the number of passengers increased from 1.2 million to 2.7 million, initiating a phase of constant growth that took it close to 14 million passengers by the end of 2019.