Noise to rise near Václav Havel Airport

Planned maintenance work will last until Friday and shift air traffic

Noise levels are expected to temporarily increase near Václav Havel Airport Prague this week until Friday as the main runway is closed for maintenance ahead of the summer season. Repairs will include cleaning rubber from the surface, monitoring wear, fixing joints and restoring the markings. New runway lights are also to be installed and preparations for some planned construction should take place.

The runway known as RWY 06/24, which is 3,715 by 45 meters and 54 years old, will be closed. All traffic will be diverted to the shorter backup runway, RWY 12/30, which measures 3,250 by 45 meters.

The main runway is used for most traffic, while the backup runway is used primarily when the wind changes direction.

The diversion to the backup runway will mean more noise in residential areas, even at night. Airport officials say the noise level changes between midnight and 5 am should be minimal.

Until the long-planned parallel runway is built, there is no option but to use the backup runway, officials added. The parallel runway was proposed in the 1960s and became a part of the land use plan in the 1970s, but has so far not been built.

The numbers of the runways refer to their orientation from both directions, with 36 indicating north and 18 south.

In addition to the planned maintenance, Václav Havel Airport Prague should see Kč 27 billion in investment over the next decade.

The investment is to upgrade the 80-year-old airport so it can accommodate more passengers. In 2010 the airport handled 10.9 million passengers, and this year it is expected to see 14 million.

The investment will go toward increasing the capacity of the terminals, improving the area in front of the terminals and expanding parking capacity. The upgrades will increase the capacity of Václav Havel Airport Prague to 21 million people per year. The plans include the addition of the parallel runway.

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. 

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