Airport Prague (Václav Havel Airport Prague)
Václav Havel Airport Prague (Czech: Letiště Václava Havla Praha), formerly Prague Ruzyně International Airport (Czech: Mezinárodní letiště Praha-Ruzyně, Czech pronunciation: [ˈpraɦa ˈrʊzɪɲɛ]), (IATA: PRG, ICAO: LKPR), is the international airport of Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. It is located 10 kilometres (6 mi) west of the city centre and is with 11 million passengers in 2013 the busiest airport in the newer EU member states.
Prague–Ruzyně 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 Ruzyně. One of the major awards Prague Ruzyně 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 modernisation 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 Ruzyně 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–Ruzyně 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 modernisation of Prague–Ruzyně Airport began 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 organised by one of the best-known Slovak film directors, Fero Fenič, calling on the government and the Parliament to rename Prague Ruzyně 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.
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:
Buses of DPP, the Prague Public Transit Co., stop at both terminals every 10 minutes:
- 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 Zličín 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–Ruzyně 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 náměstí" or "I. P. Pavlova" stops) which takes 40 minutes.