No new houses can be built near Vodochody Airport
A noise protection zone has been established around a small airport near Prague
New houses can no longer be built in the vicinity of Vodochody Airport, a privately owned facility in the Prague East district. The Czech Civil Aviation Authority has established a noise protection zone around the existing runways and infrastructure.
Investment company Penta currently owns the small airport and the related aviation and aerospace company, Aero Vodochody. Penta has a long-term plan to turn the airport into a hub for low-cost airlines and charter flights. Penta points out that many large cities have more than one airport.
Many local residents and local governments in the affected area oppose both the noise reduction zone and the development of the airport, but have to count on it in their local development plans.
The current noise protection zone only concerns the existing infrastructure and levels of air traffic. If the airport is expanded, as Penta hopes to do, then Penta will have to ask the Civil Aviation Authority to make a new, larger noise protection zone around the airport. Some 50 buildings would be in that area, and Penta would need to either buy them from the owners or otherwise ensure their protection from noise.
Opponents of the airport have a website set up called www.stopletistivodochody.cz, which tracks developments and has a petition against the project.
Vodochody Airport was built in 1953 and has a single asphalt runway that is 2,500 meters long and an emergency strip that is 1,400 meters long. The airport is at an elevation of 280 meters. It is some 15 minutes from the center of Prague. The airport is also some 15 kilometers from the Prague city limits.
The roots of the airport go back to World War II, when the German army built a landing strip there in 1942. In the 1950s it was used for MiG 15 jets that were built in the area.
Penta bought Aero Vodochody in 2007. It is the currently the largest Czech aerospace manufacturer, and it develops, manufactures, sells and maintains aircraft and aerostructures for civil and military aviation.
Penta claims that developing the airport would create 3,000 jobs, encourage travel and relieve air congestion on the western part of Prague. Penta estimates the airport could handle some 3.5 million passengers per year and would attract low-cost airlines that currently do not use Václav Havel Airport Prague, which is the main aviation hub for the city. Opponents say that a second airport is not needed, as Václav Havel Airport is already sufficient.
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