Aurel Vlaicu International Airport

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Bucharest Băneasa Aurel Vlaicu International Airport

Aeroportul Internaţional București Băneasa Aurel Vlaicu
Aeroporturi București logo.png
Airport typePublic
OperatorCompania Naţională Aeroporturi București S.A.
ServesBucharest, Romania
Elevation AMSL299 ft / 91 m
Coordinates44°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
BBU is located in Romania
Location within Romania
Direction Length Surface
m ft
07/25 3,100 10,465 Concrete
Statistics (2015)
Aircraft movements11,348
Sources: Romanian AIP at EUROCONTROL[1],[2]

The Aurel Vlaicu International Airport (IATA: BBU, ICAO: LRBS) (largely known as Băneasa Airport or Bucharest City Airport) is located in Băneasa district, Bucharest, Romania, 8.5 km (5.3 mi) north of the city center.[1] Named after Aurel Vlaicu, a Romanian engineer, inventor, aeroplane constructor, and early pilot, it was Bucharest's only airport until 1969, 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 airline hub.


Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej (with Nicolae Ceaușescu at his right hand side) and Nikita Khrushchev at Bucharest's Băneasa 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.[citation needed] In 1912, the first flight school in Romania was opened on the Băneasa airfield. This makes Băneasa airport the oldest continuously operating airport in Eastern Europe, and among the five oldest airports in the world.[4]

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.[citation needed]

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.[5]

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).

The 2007 low cost "invasion"[edit]

Interior of the terminal in 2007

The first low cost airline established at BBU was Blue Air in 2004. From January 2007, the low-fare airlines Wizz Air, EasyJet, and Germanwings started European routes from Băneasa.

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.[6]

Conversion into a business airport[edit]

In March 2012, Băneasa was dedicated to business air traffic. The low-cost traffic was transferred to Henri Coandă International Airport.[7]

Possible re-opening[edit]

In 2017 and 2018, public talks organized by the managing company took place, suggesting that the airport may be re-opened for regular flights, following renovation works, that may be completed in two years from start.[8][9]

In June 2019, it was announced that the airport will reopen for commercial flights in early 2020.[10]


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 the 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 Henri Coandă International Airport in Otopeni. As of 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.[11]

See source Wikidata query and sources.

Year Passengers[12][13][14] 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%
2014 4,960 Decrease 17.8%
2015 12,925 Increase 160.5%
2016 7,226 Decrease 44.1%
2017 17,623 Increase 143.9%
2018 5,690[15] Decrease 67.7%
2019 25,518 Increase 348.5%
2020 12,329 Decrease 50.2%

Bucharest International Air Show[edit]

The airport has been the set where the Bucharest International Air Show, the largest of its kind in Romania, has been taking place. In 2018, this event had its tenth edition, with 150 aircraft on the ground and on display in the air and 100 pilots and paratroopers, from 13 countries.[16]

Ground transportation[edit]

The airport is situated 8 km (5 miles) north of Bucharest city centre and is accessible by STB buses and Airport Express, 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.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b EAD Basic
  2. ^ Information of Aurel Vlaicu International Airport at
  3. ^ Bucharest Airports: record air traffic in 2015
  4. ^ "TOP 10 World's Oldest Airports". BAA Training. 2016-03-08. Retrieved 2020-07-30.
  5. ^ Băneasa Airport website Archived March 12, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Nine O'Clock, Romania
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Aeroportul Băneasa, redeschis în doi ani" [Băneasa Airport, re-opened in two years] (in Romanian). Digi24. 2 July 2018. Retrieved 22 October 2018.
  9. ^ "Data la care Aeroportul Băneasa va fi redeschis pentru cursele comerciale" [The date at which the Băneasa Airport will be re-opened to commercial flights] (in Romanian). Mediafax. 2 July 2018. Retrieved 22 October 2018.
  10. ^ "Bucharest's secondary airport reopens and expansion starts at main airport". Romania Insider. 13 June 2019.
  11. ^ Passenger traffic in Bucharest (in Romanian)
  12. ^ ORDIN 169/1.801. Planul național de acțiune privind reducerea emisiilor de gaze cu efect de seră în domeniul aviației civile (in Romanian)
  13. ^ Topul aeroporturilor din Romania in 2012 Archived 2014-02-17 at the Wayback Machine (in Romanian)
  14. ^ Passengers on small airports in 2013 Archived 2014-02-22 at the Wayback Machine (in Romanian)
  15. ^ Traficul total de pasageri pe Aeroporturile din România pe anul 2018 (in Romanian)
  16. ^ "BUCHAREST INTERNATIONAL AIR SHOW & GENERAL AVIATION EXHIBITION 2018" (in Romanian). BIAS. 24 July 2018. Retrieved 22 October 2018.
  17. ^ [1] (in Romanian) The Romanian Ministry of Transportation

External links[edit]

Media related to Aurel Vlaicu International Airport at Wikimedia Commons