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Czech military refuses to close airport in Přerov

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Prague, Feb 3 (CTK) – The town hall of Prerov and the Olomouc Region authority, north Moravia, want to close the military airport Prerov-Bochor over a planned industrial zone, but the project is resolutely rejected by the Defence Ministry, daily Pravo wrote Wednesday.

The government is to decide soon on the fate of the military airport, Pravo writes.

The military argues that it is absurd to close a functioning airport it still uses for training. In addition, the airport is one of the few in the Czech Republic at which giant cargo aircraft such as Antonov-225 Mriya and Boeing C-17 can land.

“In the current security situation, it would not be reasonable to get rid of one the functioning military airports we may need in the foreseeable future,” Defence Ministry spokesman Jan Pejsek has told the paper.

At present, the Czech military has four airports at its disposal. They are located in Prague-Kbely, Pardubice, east Bohemia, Caslav, central Bohemia, and Namest nad Oslavou, south Moravia.

In addition, the military has two reserve airports in Prerov and Plzen, west Bohemia, Pravo writes.

Military helicopters were based in Prerov, but in 2013, they were moved to Namest, it adds.

The Prerov airport was then passed under the administration of the state-owned LOM company.

LOM now repairs helicopter engines there, leasing the premises to about 40 companies with 260 employees, Pravo writes.

Olomouc regional governor Jiri Rozboril (Social Democrats, CSSD) said the regional authority had supported the alternative of the airport giving entirely way to an industrial zone, it adds.

“We have not abandoned the attitude, but as there is a shortage of skilled and unskilled manpower here, the alternative that 5,000 jobs will be immediately generated is wrong,” Rozboril said.

He said the authority would now prefer the government closing the airport only if a single big investor showed interest in the park measuring 440 hectares.

Former transport minister Antonin Prachar is cooperating with the Prerov town hall on the preparation of the industrial zone and its connection with a motorway.

He told the paper the closure of the airport had also been considered because the air corridor complicated the construction of a motorway.

Prachar said the airport might be preserved if the government CzechInvest, that communicated with foreign partners, showed that some companies from the air industry were interested in the industrial park and if the runway suited them.

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