European Association wants to preserve civil operations at Líně Airport, offers cooperation

by   CIJ News iDesk III
2024-04-02   18:52

The European Association for the Development of General Aviation (EAGA) wants to maintain civil operations at the airport in Líně near Plzeň, which belongs to the army. EAGA, which represents most of the operators of flight schools and activities in Líně, will seek to keep the mixed operation with military personnel there, which is also supported by the Plzeň region. It respects the verdict of the regional court last Wednesday, which ordered the current tenant of the airport, PlaneStation Pilsen Ltd, to vacate the site within two months of receiving the verdict. EAGA offers cooperation to the army, the ministries of defence and transport, the county and municipalities, the association said in a statement today.

By last November, the Volkswagen carmaker planned to build a CZK 120 billion electric car battery factory in Lini with state support, but withdrew from the project. The army has since published new plans for the use of the airport. It wants to build a logistics centre for Czech and NATO troops and an active reserve base for the regional military command.

"Our main goal is to maintain civilian traffic at the airport. We will try to find a solution beneficial to all parties involved," said association's head, Štefan Koprda. According to the EAGA, the airport is of irreplaceable importance for the aviation community and as an entry point for the region. Added values include an aviation museum, pilot training and leisure activities such as parachute sports. "We understand the necessity of having a functional regional airport with international operations and facilities for air ambulance and integrated rescue system exercises. All this represents an invaluable asset for the development of the entire region," he said.

According to Koprda, EAGA has contributed to the preservation of air traffic in Líně, helping to prevent the devastation of operational areas and facilities. PlaneStation managing director Petr Kutny told ČTK that a mixed operation with soldiers could operate at the airport, where some 20,000 machines up to 15 metres and three tonnes land and take off annually, if the army agreed. He added that PlaneStation was still interested in agreeing with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to modify the lease agreement, pay part of the outstanding rent and develop the airport; investors, both foreign and Czech, were still interested.

PlaneStation leased the airport from the state in 2000 for 50 years with an option for another 50 years. However, the MOE terminated the lease in February 2012 due to non-payment of rent since February 2010. MO then filed a lawsuit to evict the site in 2013, and Wednesday's court ruled in favor of the state. The tenant, which has long argued that it has not been able to fully use the airport, will still appeal to the Supreme Court, but this has no suspensive effect.

PlaneStation has already informed the subtenants, of which there are between 60 and 70 at the airport, of the court's outcome, including aviation schools, pilots, museums, aerial photographers, logistics and transport companies, vehicle repairers and metal fabricators. "They (PlaneStation) are also asking for a stay of execution of the decision because no one is able to vacate the place in two months," Koprda said. EAGA said there are 88 operating machines in the hangars, with 620 people around them, a third of which are the Czech Aero Club. "None of the owners have alternative premises to move the machines to," he added.

EAGA has been pushing for a mixed operation in Lini in meetings with the army, the region and municipalities. "There are a lot of airports of this format around Europe," Koprda said. Soldiers with air ambulance helicopters are permanently stationed in Líně and army paratroopers train there. Koprda said the airport is certified as civilian and has a civilian operator. "Now it depends on the army's decision whether there will be an agreement to maintain civilian operations. It would have to be taken over by another operator who would receive a permit for civilian operations," he said.

The Pilsen region also wants civilian operations to remain in Lini along with military activities. "Because of this, we offered to the Ministry of Defence that the airport, like Pardubice, would be operated by the region and the army would have an exclusive position there. The army refused and wants to be the owner and operator," said Rudolf Špoták (Pirates).

"As soon as the former tenant clears the premises, we will be able to continue to dispose of the entire complex in accordance with our long-term plans," MoD spokeswoman Simona Cigánková said after Wednesday's ruling. If the tenant does not respect the court's verdict, the MoD is ready to file a motion for judicial enforcement of the decision or a motion for an execution order.

According to the findings of, the new operator could be the state-owned enterprise LOM Praha. However, the MoD has not yet confirmed this step when asked today. "Currently, the airport in Líně is used by aeroclubs or flight schools. We will gradually meet with these representatives and then analyse the further procedure of operating the airport," said David Polák, spokesman for the Ministry of Defence today without further details.

Source: CTK

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