Leoš Janáček Airport
Often still referred to by its previous name, Ostrava-Mošnov International Airport, this dynamic airport serves the north eastern Czech city of Ostrava and the surrounding regions.
The vicinity that the airport occupies has links to aviation history that can be traced back to a pair of brothers who conducted flying experiments between 1909 and 1914. Their work was interrupted by the First World War; however, they did continue their aviation activities after the conflict ended. Economic difficulties forced them to stop after some years.
The next aviation related tenant on the land was the German Luftwaffe in the Second World War who built a base there and used it to stage attacks on Poland. At the end of the war, the land was taken over by the Czechoslovak military and deactivated.
The modern history of the airport begins in 1956, when work was begun on what would become the airport today. Initially intended only as a military airport, it began taking civilian air traffic in 1959 when Ostrava’s existing airport was no longer practical. Through the 1960s to the end of the 1980s, this airport had both a civilian side and military side to its operations.
The airport has been through many changes, privatization and much modernization since the end of Socialism and serves as an important base for both regional and international flights.
Every year since 2003, usually towards the end of September, Ostrava has hosted a week long series of conferences and exhibitions known as NATO Days. While most of the events are not open to the public, NATO Days does end with a weekend of public displays at Ostrava’s airport.
The displays are wide ranging and demonstrate everything from policing and civilian emergency services to military air and land forces. One moment you could be watching police on horseback demonstrating riot control tactics, then you might see a Czech army tank crush some old Socialist era Škoda cars under its tracks; a look up will present you with a variety of modern military aircraft.