Prague Airport to celebrate 80th anniversary

A round trip to Slovakia will commemorate the first route used in 1937

Václav Havel Airport Prague will celebrate its 80th anniversary April 5, 2017. With the help of Czech Airlines (ČSA) there will be a special flight from Prague to Piešťany to Brno to Prague flight.

The anniversary flight is because Piešťany, in western Slovakia, and Brno, in South Moravia, were the first two destinations served by the airport when it opened in 1937 as Prague Ruzyně Airport. Seating is limited for the anniversary flight, and tickets for the full trip are Kč 1,999, though single segments start at Kč 499. The flight will use an Airbus A319.

Anniversary celebrations will continue throughout the year. An interactive exhibit in Terminal 2 will show the history of the airport from its beginning into the future. On June 10 and 11 the airport will have an open house with a program for children. Airport equipment will be on display and former runway 22 will have historical aircraft including Lisunov Li-2.

At first, Prague Airport was pretty simple. There were five grass take-off and landing strips forming a star shape, each in the length of 900 to 1,050 meters. Take-offs were always performed against the direction of the wind.

Prague Ruzyně Airport received a Diploma and Gold Medal at the Paris 1937 World's Fair for the technical conception of the central airport, primarily the architecture of the check-in building now known as Terminal 4. This terminal is now used for VIP flights and state visits.

The first paved runways were built during the 1940s. About half of the runway system was finished by the time of the German invasion in March 1939. Four planned paved runways were finished by 1945 and ranged up to 1,800 meters. A plan for a modern runway was proposed in the 1950s. The construction was finished during the 1960s and the main airport runway had a length of 3,115 meters. Two runways are currently used at Prague Airport. The main runway was lengthened in 1982 to 3,715 meters and there is a secondary runway. Capacity has been insufficient since the 1990s, according to the airport's website. There are plans to build another runway, but so far this has not happened.

One of the most significant events in the airport history was its seizure by Soviet paratroopers on the night of Aug. 20–21. 1968, when it was used for Soviet troops and transports for the invasion of Czechoslovakia.

It has also been in films. The airport posed as Miami International Airport in the 2006 James Bond film Casino Royale.

Right after former president Václav Havel's death on Dec. 18, 2011, an online petition organized by Slovak film director Fero Fenič asked the government and the Parliament to rename Prague Ruzyně Airport to Václav Havel International Airport. This name change took place Oct. 5, 2012, on what would have been Havel's 76th birthday. However, the PRG name of the airport was retained for aviation purposes.

Related article:
Václav Havel Airport sets new record - Prague.TV, 02.01.2017

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