Prague Václav Havel Airport
Prague Václav Havel Airport (Template:Lang-cs), formerly Prague Ruzyn? International Airport (Template:Lang-cs, Template:IPA-cs), Template:Airport codes, is the international airport of Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. It is located Template:Convert west<ref name="AIP"/> of the city centre and is with 11 million passengers in 2013 the busiest airport in the newer EU member states. It also serves as a hub for Czech Airlines as well as a base for Travel Service Airlines including its subsidiary SmartWings.
Prague–Ruzyn? Airport began operations on 5 April 1937, but Czechoslovak civil aviation history started at the military airport in Prague–Kbely in 1919. The Prague Aviation Museum is now found at Kbely Airport.
Due to insufficient capacity of the Kbely airport in the middle of the 1930s, the Government decided to develop a new State Civil Airport in Ruzyn?. One of the major awards Prague Ruzyn? Airport received include Diploma and Gold Medal granted in 1937 at the occasion of the International Art and Technical Exhibition in Paris (Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne also known as Paris 1937 World's Fair) for the technical conception of the central airport, primarily the architecture of the check-in building (nowadays known as Terminal 4) designed by architect Ing. A. Beneš.
Other awards were granted for modernization during individual airport development phases. All these facts have been increasing the interest of carriers in using Prague airport. In one of the most dramatic moments in its history, the airport was seized by Soviet paratroopers on the night of 20–21 August 1968, who then facilitated the landing of Soviet troops and transports for the invasion of Czechoslovakia.
The airport has an excellent location both with respect to its short distance from the centre of Prague and within the European area. Moreover, the Ruzyn? fields provide opportunities for further expansion of the airport according to the increasing capacity demand. The airport serves as a hub of the trans-European airport network.
The political and economic changes affected the seventy years of existence of Prague–Ruzyn? Airport. Some new air transportation companies and institutions were founded and some ceased operation since then. Ten entities have been responsible for airport administration over time, including the new construction and development. Until the 1990s, there were two or three decade gaps before the major modernization of Prague–Ruzyn? Airport began in order to match the current capacity requirements.
The airport was used in the James Bond film Casino Royale. The airport, along with a Virgin Atlantic Airbus A340-600, depicts a scene that actually takes place in the film at Miami International Airport.
An online petition organized by one of the best-known Slovak film directors, Fero Feni?, calling on the government and the Parliament to rename Prague Ruzyn? Airport to Václav Havel International Airport attracted – in just one week after 20 December 2011 – the support of over 65,000 signatories both within and outside the Czech Republic. A rendition of the airport with the proposed Václav Havel name in the form of his signature followed by his typical heart symbol suffix was included in the blog's article in support of renaming of the airport. This name change took place on 5 October 2012 on what would have been Havel's 76th birthday. However, the PRG name of the airport for IATA and ICAO will remain the same.
As the capacity of the airport has been reaching its limit for the last couple of years (as of 2005), further development of the airport is being considered. Besides regular repairs of the existing runways, Prague Airport (Template:Lang-cs) began the preparations for building a new runway, parallel to the 06/24 runway. The construction with estimated costs of CZK 5–7 billion was scheduled to begin in 2007, and the new runway marked 06R/24L (also called the BIS runway) is to be put into service in 2010. However, because of plenty of legal problems and protests of people who live close to the airport premises, the construction has not yet begun. Despite these problems, the project has support from the government, and is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.
It will be over Template:Convert long. Located about Template:Convert southeast of the present main runway, the 24L runway will be equipped with a category III ILS, allowing landing and taking off under bad weather conditions.
Prague Airport states that besides increasing the airport capacity, the new runway system will greatly reduce the noise level in some densely inhabited areas of Prague. This should be achieved by reorganising the air traffic space around the airport, and shifting the traffic corridors after putting the two parallel runways into service. The vision of heavy traffic raised many protests from the suburban communities directly surrounding the airport. On 6 November 2004, local referenda were held in two Prague suburbs – Nebušice and P?ední Kopanina – giving official support to the local authorities for active opposition against the construction of the parallel runway.
The construction of a railway connection between the airport and Prague city centre is also in the planning stage. The track will be served by express trains with special fares, connecting non-stop the airport with the city centre, and local trains fully integrated into Prague integrated transit system.
Prague Airport has two main passenger terminals, two general aviation terminals, as well as a cargo facility. Most flights depart Prague Airport from the North Terminals (Terminal 1 and 2). The South Terminals (Terminal 3 and 4) handle a few irregular flights, as well as VIP flights, special flights and small aircraft.
- Terminal 1 is used for flights outside the Schengen Area; it was opened in 1997, it includes concourses A and B
- Terminal 2 is used for flights within the Schengen area; it was opened on 17 January 2006, it includes concourses C and D
- Terminal 3 is used for private and charter flights; it was opened in 1997
- Terminal 4 is used exclusively for VIP flights and state visits; it is the oldest part of the airport which was opened on 5 April 1937
There are also two freight terminals, Cargo Terminal 1 is operated by Menzies Aviation Czech while Cargo Terminal 2 is operated by Skyport.
The airport contains two runways in service: 06/24 (till April 1993 07/25) and 12/30 (till May 2012 13/31). Former runway 04/22 is permanently closed for take-offs and landings and is used for taxiing and parking only. The most used runway is 24 due to the prevailing western winds. Runway 30 is also used often. Runway 06 is used rarely, while runway 12 is used only exceptionally.
The company operating the airport is Prague Airport (Letišt? Praha, a. s.), a joint-stock company that has one shareholder, the Ministry of Finance. The company was founded in February 2008, as part of a privatization process involving the Airport Prague (Správa Letišt? Praha, s.p.) state enterprise. This action was in accordance with the Czech Republic Government Memorandum Nr. 888, which had been passed on 9 July 2008. On 1 December 2008, Prague Airport took all rights and duties formerly held by Správa Letišt? Praha, s.p., and Prague Airports took all business authorisations, certificates, employees, and licenses from the former company. The head office of Prague Airport is in Prague 6. The former state-owned enterprise had its head office on the airport property.
Airlines and destinations
In 2004, the airport served 9.7 million passengers; in 2005 nearly 10.8 million; and 11.6 million in 2006. In 2007 the number of passengers rose to 12,440,000 and in 2008 reached 12,630,557. In 2009 the number decreased to 11,643,366, and only 143,060 were domestic passengers. It was the 32nd busiest airport in Europe in 2009. The top 10 destinations were:
|1||Paris–Charles de Gaulle||550,902|
|7||Rome–Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci||290,972|
|1||Template:Flagicon Germany||1,162,114 passengers|
|2||Template:Flagicon Great Britain||1,138,899 passengers|
|3||Template:Flagicon France||1,017,899 passengers|
|4||Template:Flagicon Italy||872,933 passengers|
|5||Template:Flagicon Russia||856,849 passengers|
|1||Template:Flagicon Paris (Charles de Gaulle)||830,177 passengers|
|2||Template:Flagicon Moscow (Sheremetyevo)||539,108 passengers|
|3||Template:Flagicon Frankfurt||514,061 passengers|
Czech Airlines has its head office, the APC Building, on the grounds of Prague Airport. On 30 December 2009 CSA announced that it will sell its head office to the airport for CZK 607 million.
Travel Service Airlines and its low cost subsidiary Smart Wings have their head office on the airport property.
In addition the Civil Aviation Authority also has its head office on the airport property.
Buses of DPP, the Prague Public Transit Co., stop at both terminals every 10 minutes. A 90 min. ticket can be bought for CZK 32 at the arrival hall (CZK 40 from the bus driver):
- 119 – terminates in 24 minutes at Dejvická station. Transfer to Metro line A to get to the centre. The ticket is valid on the Metro too.
- 100 – terminates in 18 minutes at Zli?ín station. Transfer to Metro line B to get to the centre. The ticket is valid on the Metro too.
- 179 – stops in 10 minutes at Ciolkovského, with 10 min. transfer by foot to Praha–Ruzyn? station of the S5 line of the suburban railway to the centre (train takes 25 min. and departs every 60 min.). The ticket is valid on the train too.
- 510 – a night service every 30 minutes. Goes to the south of the city, but passes near the centre ("Jiráskovo nám?stí" or "I.P.Pavlova" stops) which takes 40 minutes.
A Czech Railways public bus service, AE – AiportExpress, connects Terminals 1 and 2 with Praha hlavní nádraží every 30 minutes. The journey takes 40 to 50 minutes and costs CZK 60. Some local buses run from Prague to Kladno stop at Terminal 1. Also, Student Agency buses link Terminal 1 with Karlovy Vary.
Accidents and incidents
- On 30 October 1975, Inex-Adria Aviopromet Flight 450, an Douglas DC-9-32 hit high ground during an approach in fog to Prague Ruzyn? Airport. 75 of the 120 passengers and crew on board were killed.
- On 29 March 1989, two teenagers from Czechoslovakia armed with grenades and shotguns hijacked Malev Flight 640 at Prague Ruzyn? Airport, and flew the Tupolev Tu-154B with 15 hostages to Frankfurt Airport before surrendering.
- List of airports in the Czech Republic