Airport history

The spa city airport's foundation was initiated by aviation and civil air transport development in our country in the early 1920s.. The town council as early as in 1925 assessed the necessity to have an air connection with other cities both in our country and abroad. In cooperation with the town council in Mariánské Lázně, which was making a decision about airport foundation at that time too, there was an intention proposed about air connection among Marianske Lazne - Karlovy Vary - Chemnitz - Leipzig and Berlin. The airport foundation was solved faster in Marianske Lazne. The firm AVIA, which was registered as M. Bondy and Co., launched air transport as early as in 1926 in the area of the municipality Sklare between Marianske Lazne and Praha.

Karlovy Vary had been looking for the most convenient location near the town until 1927. After the evaluation of locations which were taken into consideration, also in Dvory among others, the location in the municipality Olsova Vrata was chosen. After the acquisition of land and possessive settlement The Ministery of Public Works on behalf of The Czech State overtook the preliminary works in the amount of more than one million czech crowns in 1929. The airport's plain was drained off, recultivated and grass sowed in that year's spring. The bare plain in the shape of a trapezium had the total area of 40 ha, without the aiport's objects. In 1930 only a hangar project was presented whose author was the academic Stanislav Bechyne. A study of the main building was designed by the architect Rudolf Weise from Karlovy Vary. The projects were not accepted, the reasons are unknown. In October 1931 the Prague firm of Ing. Jan Blazek was put in charge of the elaboration of a new project. The following construction was made by Ing. Antonin Brebera, the building supervision was done by Ing. Frantisek Solveter. New facilities were put in operation in 1930. The new dispatching building and the other facilities had sufficient capacity for then period and excellent architecture which we have been admiring up to this days. Air transport in provisional conditions as early as 15 May 1931 on the route Praha - Marianske Lazne - Karovy Vary. Since then it developed favourably. Even in 1936 the Karlovy Vary Airport was enlisted into the European airport net with the link connections from Prgue to Amsterdam, Berlin, Belgrade, Budapest, Vienna and to other cities. In 1937-1938 the town Karlovy Vary had thanks to its Airport air connections with 11 cities in our republic. During the World War II the Airport was occupied by Luftwaffe fighters pilot school. The Airport was seriously damaged by the war events. After the War the entire effort was focused to the quick transport recovery and it was renewed as early as in 1946. The new development era of the Karlovy Vary Airport started.

Even Karlovy Vary Airport, which had seriously been damaged by the war events, was reawakened with post-war enthusiasm. Therefore only the most urgent repairs were done, especially the main building, the hangar and the grass surface, which served to the traffic until the introduction of more demanding airplane types. The post-war traffic was renewed in 1946 by the seasonal airlink Prague - Karlovy Vary - Prague by aircraft types Ju-52, Siebel and later on DC-3.

In 1952 a new era in the development of the Karlovy Vary Airport started. Theconstruction of a new runway with cement concrete surface in the length of 2150 m includong a taxi way begun. Stepwise the apron was enlarged, the general reconstruction of airport's facilities and the access road was done etc. The airport was equipped with a new air system technology. These works were distinguished with high effort so that the traffic could be renewed 15 October 1960.

The airport had a connection with Brno, Ostrava and Kosice, Berlin (Schoenefeld) and irregular connctions with Vienna. The main aircraft type was IL-14. In 1965 the airport employees built the radio beacon on the hill near Struzna by themselves. The all-year-round traffic was launched in the same year. Quite high number of transported passengers and a great interest in air traffic required the opening of a travel agency in the town. In 1967 the highest number of transported passengers by then - 47 thousand was reached. The greatest boom in the airport s history was in the year 1978. There were 6 daily regular connections, four of which connected the spa town with Moravia and Slovakia. 50 thousands passengers were transported in both directions. The government measure for cutting jet consumption and dramatic price growth caused an evidently decreasing interest in travelling by plane. The traffic at Karlovy Vary Airport dropped by 74% and then was stopped. At that time even the question of finishing the civil air traffic stop was taken into consideration. Since 1981 seasonal traffic only was running between Prague and Karlovy Vary with the opportunity for tranzit.

Despite all air traffic restrictions, which had been caused by falling interest about air transportation, a lot of aviation employees realized that enormous and hardly reparable damages could arise if the airport had really been closed and they strongly believed in the air traffic recovery. In 1984 - 1985 it was even possible to cover the cement concrete runway surface by asphalt concrete surface in the frame of its complete reconstruction. Since 1989 the airport has had the status of an international airport again. Conditions for its larger capacity utilization are created step by step the more so that additional investments have been realized. For example: a radio navigation and lighting system for ensuring air traffic safety - because of the surrounding rugged terrain, the facility for the fire and security brigade, the transformer station with an alternative source of electricity, the new cabel connection etc. The main building and the tower have also been reconstructed, so that the airport meets condintions for the air traffic development as far as equipment and facilities are concerned. Its advantageous location, technical level, short distance from the town, its significance for region, the close border with neighbouring countries and whole range of other positives create real possibilities for both regular and irregular air traffic, for private and business, sportive clients who get here ideal conditions for air traffic and service. It is possible to anticipate reasonably that the traffic at the Karlovy Vary Airport will not stagnate.

Updated: 12.05.2021
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