Bălți International Airport
Bălți International Airport
Aeroportul Internațional Bălți
|Owner||Government of Moldova|
|Elevation AMSL||231 m / 758 ft|
Bălți International Airport (IATA: BZY, ICAO: LUBL), formerly known as Bălți-Leadoveni International Airport, is one of the two airports serving the city of Bălți, Moldova. Located 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) north of the city center, in the northern part of the country, it is the second largest airport of Moldova, servicing cargo and charter flights. Another airport in the area, Bălți City Airport, located within the city limits, is primarily used for emergency interventions of regional importance.
The first scheduled flights to Bălţi started on 24 June 1926, on the route Bucharest – Galați – Chișinău - Bălţi - Hotin - Cernauti. The flights were operated by Compagnie Franco-Roumaine de Navigation Aérienne – CFRNA, later LARES and today TAROM.
Different locations of five runways in and around Bălţi historically resulted that airport facilities were periodically built in different part of Bălţi and its soirroundings.
The construction of the runway in the new location next to the village in Leadoveni (as it was called back in 1987 and later divided in Corlateni and Singureni, Corlateni corresponding to the area occupied today by the airport), on the outskirts of Bălţi, 9km from its northern districts started in 80's following an order of the USSR Marshal Sergey Akhromeyev, whereas construction of the airport infrastructure (including passenger and cargo terminals, hotel, air traffic control tower, extension of the trolleybus line from Bălți to BZY) was left to the local authorities.
The choice of the runway location was carefully made taking into consideration the advanced technical and engineer means and notably the direction of winds and absence of stable fog on location of Bălți International Airport. Contrary to other airports in Moldova, Bălți International Airport can be operated in any weather conditions. The runway of Bălți International Airport is located at an altitude of 231 meters, with surrounding hills as low as down to 100 meters.
The first technical flight on the new Bălți aerodrome was performed on 28 December 1987 on an AN-24 by representatives of a test commission of the Moldovan Civil Aviation Authority. On 31 October 1989, the authority established the conformity of the aviation light signals installed at BZY. On 22 February 1990, the State Design and Prospecting Research Institute for Civil Aviation "Aeroproject" confirmed the pavement classification number and indicated the airplanes which may be operated at BZY with no restrictions : IL-18, AN-12, YAK-42, TU-134. On 8 June 1990, BZY was certificated, confirming that airplanes of type TU-134, AN-24, YAK-40 and other types of airplanes of the III rd and IV thcategories may be freely operated at BZY, as well as any kinds of helicopters. On 31 May 1994, "Aeroproject" confirmed also capacity of BZY for operation of TU-154 (one plane per day) and IL-76T (50 planes per year with weight: 160 tons / 352,739.6 pounds).
After the official opening in late 1980s, BZY appears to have been operated by airplanes from Chișinău of the former Moldavian branch of the Soviet company Aeroflot. At that time, the airport was called Bălți-Leadoveni International Airport and became the most important airport in the north of Moldova. After the independence of Moldova in 1991, the airport was used by Air Moldova, the state company successor of the remaining airplanes of Aeroflot.
According to the former plans, it was planned to build two terminals, one for passenger and another for cargo service, as well as one control tower. Before the break-up of the USSR, the airport was connected, through direct flights, to almost 20 destinations in the former Soviet Union, including Moscow, Kiev, and Sochi.
The new role for the Bălți International Airport could be a first hub for low-cost airlines in Moldova, since the only airport which operates, as a monopoly holder, with high airport taxes regular passenger flights remains Chișinău airport.
Approximately one third or more of all passengers on the routes operated by Air Moldova having roughly half of the share of all flights from Chișinău airport come from Bălți and the northern districts of Moldova. Since May 2015 Air Moldova sells flight tickets with destination point BZY providing a bus transfer service from Bălți to Chișinău airport. Started from one bus per day in the beginning, there are three buses per day as of today circulating between Bălți and Chișinău airport and only for Air Moldova flights.
Important development perspectives also appear for Bălți International Airport in the cargo field, which would generate economic growth for the whole northern region of Moldova. The region boasts an 8% annual GDP growth, and real estate investment projects in Bălți by Western European businesses are some of the growth factors.
In accordance with activity plan report dated 1 March 2013, established in the framework of an inspection carried out by the Moldovan Civil Aviation Authority, the following services at BZY were verified: Passenger and Baggage — General, Ticketing and airport services, Departing passengers processing, Arriving passengers processing, Baggage.
Pursuant to a short notice published on the site of the Moldovan Ministry of Transports and Infrastructure of Roads, BZY is located on the territory of the Riscani region with a surface of 144,5567 ha and includes an aerodrome, a passenger terminal, a baggage handling facility, buildings and constructions ensuring technological process (a metallic hangar, a diesel electric generator for autonomous reserve energy, a square in front of the passenger terminal, parking lots for special purposes ground vehicles and others) as well as a land surface which may be used for infrastructure development of BZY.
On 12 September 1994, the Moldovan Civil Aviation Authority created the State Aviation Enterprise "Moldaeroservice". Moldaeroservice was created on the basis of the Bălți Aviation Enterprise and Bălți branch of the State Airline Air Moldova, and is subordinated to the Moldovan Civil Aviation Authority.
Currently Moldaeroservice operates Bălți International Airport, even though no regular flights are being operated and the operational certificate was withdrawn by Moldovan authorities on 14 October 2015, purportedly for the lack of financing of Moldaeroservice.
As Moldova was experiencing economic crisis in the 1990s, the re-construction and modernization plans of the airport, as well as the whole aviation industry, were put on hold. Only in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Chișinău International Airport was modernized, with help from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Chișinău International Airport is today the only airport in Moldova operated by regular passenger and cargo routes.
Bălți International Airport is currently used mainly by irregular charter passenger, and more often by cargo flights. In between rare flights, the runway serves for Moldavian rallies and open-air concerts.
Airlines and destinations
As of 2016, there are no regular scheduled flights to and from Bălți International.
It can be easily accessed by car, exiting Bălți in the northern direction, and following the E583 highway. Numerous coaches and minibuses used for public transportation connecting Bălți to the northern districts of Moldova stop upon request at the highway–airport access junction.
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-  Archived 2016-10-11 at the Wayback Machine.
|Look up aviation in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- Media related to Bălți International Airport at Wikimedia Commons
- Civil Aviation Administration of Moldova (in Romanian) (in Russian)
- Airport information for LUBL at World Aero Data. Data current as of October 2006.
- Airport information for LUBL at Great Circle Mapper.
- Current weather for LUBL at NOAA/NWS
- Accident history for BZY at Aviation Safety Network