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You too can fly to Brno ...


...if you flap your wings hard enough and long enough, you may eventually end up at Tuřany, Brno's International Airport. It happened to me, in fact.

I visited the Brno airport for the first time ever today. Though rather disappointing as a destination, I did get to ride an overcrowded bus, see yet another bus stop in the middle of a field, and witness many Czechs reunited with family members who returned in kilts, bomber hats, and other paraphenalia. One person even brought a trombone! (I claim no affiliation with said instrument, but I was glad to note it arrived.)

It was hard to tell from the crowd, but this was the first flight of the second year of service to Brno by Ryanair. March 24 marked the one-year anniversary of daily service between London (Stansted) and Brno (Tuřany - yes, of course there's more than one airport in Brno). Moderní Brno reports:

Brno - A roll of the drums, a cimbalom band, the Minister of Transportation, girls in kroj, pastries, and slivovice - this was exactly how the arrival of the first airplane of the regular Brno-London route was celebrated. "The route to London should bring more than 100,000 passangers to the airport per year," predicted then-optimistic minister of transportation Milan Šimonovský. The number of passengers exceeded the minister's prediction after a year of service. "After a year of operations in Brno we sold over 140,000 seats and served 115,000 travelers," stated Tomasz Kulakowski, sales and marketing manager for Ryanair's Central Europe division. The difference in numbers was created by passengers who bought tickets and never used them.

Brno - Víření bubnů, cimbálovka, ministr dopravy, krojované dívky, koláčky a slivovice - tak se přesně před rokem slavil přílet prvního letadla pravidelné letecké linky Brno-Londýn. "Linka do Londýna by měla přinést letišti navíc sto tisíc pasažérů za rok," předpovídal tehdy optimisticky ministr dopravy Milan Šimonovský. Počet přepravených pasažérů po ročním provozu dokonce překonal ministrovo očekávání. "Za rok našeho působení v Brně jsme prodali 140 tisíc míst a přepravili 115 tisíc cestujících," konstatoval Tomasz Kulakowski, manažer prodeje a marketingu společnosti Ryanair pro střední Evropu. Rozdíl mezi oběma čísly tvoří letenky, které si pasažéři koupili, ale nakonec je nevyužili.

The Prague Post ran a story back in March 2005. RyanAir's Caroline Baldwin had this to say at the time: "There will be a huge upsurge of interest in Brno. . . . Prague is over in the UK. Been there, done that." It does seem that some British tourists just hop on the plane without knowing much about their destination. One bus rider who noticed me speaking English asked, "So, what is there to do in this town?" "Well...there's always the Zetor tractor factory," I answered, "My friend Stanley has been doing research on Czech economics and says that the factory has fallen on hard times so I'm sure they'd offer a tour for a small fee." So I'm actually making up the subject of that conversation, but it really did take place and I hope that he and his mates found something.

It was not just the anniversary that attracted my attention. Just in case you missed it, a cimbalom band was playing at the inauguration of this service! If only I could have been there with my MiniDV to document it.

A picture from bus 76 to the airport. Evidence of foreign investment south of Brno, or an ad for South Moravian weather by CzechTourism?


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Comments:

Anonymous VelvetWinter said . . .

That's a fine airport, if you don't mind me saying. Ranks right up there with Barka in Kosice!    

11:49 AM, March 27, 2006


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