Terminal 1, from which flights to countries outside the Schengen area are now being handled, is the oldest part of the new Ruzyně Airport. The northern part of the airport opened its gates to passengers on June 15, 1968, and it is from this moment that the present form of the current Václav Havel Airport began.
The construction of Terminal 1 was decided in 1960 based on capacities. The construction itself, however, began four years later. In 1968, passenger clearance areas were located only in a building that now serves as Terminal 1’s arrival hall.
Checked-in passengers came from the halls to the area through the entrance galleries, and the present boarding bridges were still far in the future. Their construction began much later in the 1990s.
As early as the beginning of the 1990s, a dramatic increase in the number of passengers was foreseen, and a large refurbishment of the check-in building began, involving a capacity increase of nineteen Czechoslovak Airlines counters, nine customs counters and eight check-in counters. For comparison, currently, Terminal 1 has a total of 62 check-in counters.
In 1995 there was a further expansion of the Terminal 1 capacities. The operation of the departure hall was renewed two years later.
While more than three million passengers passed through in 1995, it was already six million in 2001 and more than ten million in 2005.
Changes to Ruzyně Airport are not to be avoided, even today. In 2015, passport control operations began with the operation of new so-called EasyGo gate self-handling passports check-ins, through which an EU citizen with a valid biometric passport older than 15 years can be automatically verified.
The Future of Terminal 1
Even with the introduction of self-handling passport checks, the transformations of Terminal 1 were not finished. Before the main summer season, the airport will launch high-capacity carousels for checked-in luggage.
In August, the terminal will be presented with a brand new reconfigured aircraft stand, where it will be possible to dispatch either one large long-distance aircraft or two smaller aircraft. A new gate with a refurbished interior will be established on the aircraft stand.
At the end of the year, it will undergo a refurbishment of the luggage room, as well as of the Prague restaurant.
Next year at Terminal 1, there will be ten new check-in counters and other new gates.
Ruzyně has been flying since 1937
However, the history of Ruzyně Airport is even longer. The plans for the construction of the airport in this area were created at the turn of the 1920s and 1930s. Construction started in 1932 and five years later, the airport was finished.
The first plane landed at Ruzyně airport at 9 am on April 5, 1937, and it was a Douglas DC-2, which flew on the line Piestany-Zlin-Brno-Prague. It was with this very flight that Ruzyně Airport was officially launched.
Since then, all civilian traffic has moved from the second Prague airport in Kbely, where only the military air force remains.
The original “old” airport was at the current Terminal 4 (South 1).