Aurel Vlaicu International Airport

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Bucharest Băneasa Aurel Vlaicu International Airport
Aeroportul Internaţional Bucureşti Băneasa Aurel Vlaicu
Bucharest airports logo.png
Baneasanight.jpg
IATA: BBUICAO: LRBS
Summary
Airport type Public
Operator Compania Naţională Aeroporturi Bucureşti S.A.
Serves Bucharest, Romania
Elevation AMSL 299 ft / 91 m
Coordinates 44°30′13″N 026°06′13″E / 44.50361°N 26.10361°E / 44.50361; 26.10361Coordinates: 44°30′13″N 026°06′13″E / 44.50361°N 26.10361°E / 44.50361; 26.10361
Website bucharestairports.ro
Map
BBU is located in Romania
BBU
BBU
Location within Romani
Runways
Direction Length Surface
m ft
07/25 3,100 10,465 Asphalt
Statistics (2013)
Passengers 6,036
Aircraft movements 1,062
Source: Romanian AIP at EUROCONTROL[1]
Airport-Data.com,[2] Statistics[3]

Bucharest Aurel Vlaicu Airport (IATA: BBUICAO: LRBS) (largely known as Băneasa Airport or Bucharest City Airport) is located in Băneasa district, 8.5 km (5.3 mi) north of Bucharest, Romania.[1] Named after Aurel Vlaicu, a Romanian engineer, inventor, airplane constructor and early pilot, it was Bucharest's only airport until 1965, when the Otopeni Airport (today Henri Coandă International Airport) was opened to civilian use.

Until March 2012, when it was converted into a business airport, Aurel Vlaicu International was the second airport in Romania in terms of air traffic, and Bucharest's low-cost hub.

History[edit]

Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej & Nikita Khrushchev at Bucharest's Baneasa Airport in June 1960

The first flights in the Băneasa area took place in 1909 and they were carried out by the French pilot and aviation pioneer Louis Blériot. In 1912 the first flight school in Romania was opened on Băneasa airfield. This makes Băneasa airport the oldest continuously operating airport in Eastern Europe, and among the oldest five airports in the world.

In 1920, the airport headquartered the first aviation company in Romania, and one of the earliest in the world, the CFRNA (The French – Romanian Company for Air Navigation), the precursor of the Romanian national airline, TAROM. In 1923 the CFRNA built the industrial facilities for aircraft maintenance in Băneasa; on that base the aerospace company Romaero was created in the 1960s.

The current terminal building was designed in the late 1940s and opened in 1952. At that time it was considered one of the finest architectural features of Bucharest. The building consists of a central dome with three distinct wings which represents an airplane propeller with three blades.[4]

During the communist period (1947–1989), Băneasa Airport was TAROM's domestic hub, while Otopeni Airport was used as an international hub. In the early 2000s (decade), TAROM moved all of its activities to Otopeni (renamed Henri Coandă International Airport). Today, the airport is becoming an increasingly important hub for business aviation and for low cost airlines, being the main hub of Blue Air.

The 2007 low cost "invasion"[edit]

Băneasa Airport inside

The first low cost airline established at BBU was Blue Air in 2004. From January 2007 many other European low fare airlines (Sky Europe, Wizz Air, EasyJet, Germanwings) started new routes from Bucharest BBU to popular European destinations.

Renovation works[edit]

In 2007 the airport was closed from 10 May to 19 August for renovation works. All flights during this period were moved to Henri Coandă International Airport. Renovations included commercial areas, restaurants, a VIP lounge and a 300 space car park. The runway and lighting systems were also completely overhauled. The estimated cost was €20m.[5]

Conversion into business airport[edit]

In March 2012, Băneasa was converted into an airport 100% dedicated to business air traffic. The low-cost traffic was transferred to Henri Coandă International Airport.[6]

Terminals[edit]

The building is a late 1940s design, and was not built to cope with more than 600,000 passengers per year and departures every 25 minutes. As such in the few years before 2012 when the airport was closed to commercial scheduled flights, the facilities were extremely undersized and became very crowded. The building cannot be expanded, because of its status as a city landmark, and because of sheer lack of space in the airport area.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

As of 25 March 2012, all commercial flight operations have been moved to Bucharest Henri Coandă (Otopeni) Airport. Now, Aurel Vlaicu International Airport handles only charter flights and private jets.

Traffic statistics[edit]

From as low as 20 to 30 passengers per month in 2001–2002, BBU handled 119,000 passengers in 2004, and 2,398,911 passengers in 2011.[7]

Year Passengers[8][9][3] Compared to Previous Year
2005 380,474 Increase 222%
2006 672,923 Increase 76.8%
2007 968,084 Increase 43.8%
2008 1,724,633 Increase 78.1%
2009 1,974,337 Increase 14.4%
2010 1,881,509 Decrease 4.7%
2011 2,398,911 Increase 27.5%
2012 424,016 Decrease 82.3%
2013 6,036 Decrease 98.5%

Ground transportation[edit]

The airport is situated 8 km north of Bucharest city centre and is accessible by RATB buses 131, 335 and Airport Express 783, RATB tramway 5 and taxi.

An extension of the Bucharest Metro system to Aurel Vlaicu International, as Metro Line M6, which will link it to the Main Train Station and the larger Henri Coandă International Airport, was approved in June 2006 and is currently in its planning stage.[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to Aurel Vlaicu International Airport at Wikimedia Commons