Sliač
UTC

HISTORY

The first active air activity at the places of actual Sliač airport was recorded in the first half of the 30th years of the 20th century. There were meadows and fields owned by farmers from Badín, Veľká Lúka and Hájnik. During the season the planes of the 3rd regimen of M.R. Štefánik the general, from Piešťany used to come here to train. Besides these people there were people fond of flying who were flying from slopes around Banská Bystrica, Šalková, Selce and Veľká Lúka. The Stredoslovenský aeroklub (SSA) (Slovak Aeroclub) with its office in Zvolen, established on 23.11.1935 in Grand hotel Zvolen (Theatre of Jozef Gregor Tajovský today) opened up the air tradition in Zvolen region under a great support of Aeroklub republiky československej. The 20th April 1936 represents a very significant date in the history of the airport, when after an agreement with owners of the land the area served for purposes of the airport, called after the close farm – tri Duby, as permanent, approved of by the decree of the Ministry of Public Works. Okresný úrad (District Office) in Zvolen also issued a decree for permission of the area use for purposes of civil, sport and military purposes as well as a permission for construction of structures and facilities for air activity. The airport was festively put into the administration of the SSA Zvolen on 1.5.1936. The first civil Stredoslovenská pilotná škola (pilot school) and its first course was open on this date. The course graduates were sent to foreign air units. Later on many of them actively participated at domestic and foreign insurrection and also worked at the transport aviation.

From 1937, as a result of more intense safety and security tension in Europe, mainly from the Hitler´s Germany, the western neighbour, an intensive military air activity stated to run at the airport. There is a dislocated air squadron of the 16 regimen of 3 M.R. Štefánik from  Piešťany at the airport. Technical and accommodation structures / objects for the aviation personnel were built. The airport was known under the name of „Letisko Zvolen“.

Civil air transport slowly gets into the airport in Zvolen. There were occasional flights from the beginning only. The first civil flight took place already in August 1936, when Ing. František Novák, the known Zvolen constructor, took a flight because of his working activity to Bratislava and back.

From its formation the Slovak state declared the interest in building a civil air transport. With this regard the Slovenská letecká spoločnosť (SLS) (Slovak air company) was established on 21.06.1939 with a majority share of the state, which activity was unfavourably influenced by various factors, like lack of air technique, personnel and war events. As a result of these reasons may open lines were cancelled.

Slovak aviation came through many organizational, personnel and dislocation changes. As to 1.5.1942 its name changed from   „Letiska Zvolen“ to „Letisko Tri Duby“. On that year the airport had its first flight flying on the line Bratislava – Vysoké Tatry with a stopover at Tri Duby airport. At that time 8 passengers – bath guests arrived at Sliač.

The season in 1943 can be considered as a memorial one in Slovakia and Letisko Tri Duby. On 16.5.1943 the SLS started to fly on the Bratislava – Letisko Tri Duby – Prešov line. There were several testing and promotional flights which precluded this operation. The line was provided with a double-engine six place machine of Focke – Wulf  Fw58 type under an official OK-HLM label called by Bratislava name. The plane was piloted by rtk. Jozef Jakab, one of at that time most capable pilots and Palkovič, the radio-telegraph operator. The flights were operated three times per week – on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, while up to the end of the season, i.e. 30.September the machines transported 911 passengers in total, 1630 tons of postal mail, 513 tons of goods and  6318 tons of luggage. Just to compare only: the flight from  Bratislava to  Zvolen cost  250 crowns (koruna), from Bratislava to Tatry 350 crowns, from Bratislava to Prešov 450 crowns, from Zvolen to Tatry  200 crowns, from Zvolen to Prešov 250 crowns, from Tatry to Prešov 150 crowns. The public became more and more aware of the importance of the air transport, and therefore it started to use it for its needs while the fights were fully booked out during the whole season. It is for sure that the bargain travel, speed of the transport and enjoyment from the flight in form of a view over the beauties of Slovakia represented the decisive criteria for choosing to travel by air.

On 21.1.1944 the Ministry of Interior decided on the name of the airport from Tri Duby – civil sector to  „Letisko Sliač – kúpele“. The 1944 year represented the end of the regular air transport operated by SLS. The Slovak national uprising competed the modest history of the civil transport in Slovakia and Letisku Sliač – kúpele airport.

In summer and autumn of 1944, during preparation and the course of the Slovak national uprising, the Letisko Tri Duby airport represented an important chapter in its history. With its aviation and land personnel it played a unique role in a support of the aviation activity over the whole insurrectional area. It became a notion and it has a top place among the historical tradition of the military, mainly in the aviation of Slovakia and the Czech and Slovak state. The historical contribution of the airport was deservedly honoured by a „Letisko SNP“ (Slovak national uprising airport) name.

Early in the morning on the 26.10.1944 the German military group called Schill occupied the airport upon which the last base of rebels was beaten. The airport was liberated from 19th to 20th March 1945 by the Soviet and Romanian armies proceeding toward  Banská Bystrica.

Postwar recovery of the civil air transport was provided based on the Decree of the MNO as from 28.7.1945 on establishment of the Air transport group with its office at Prague – Ruzyne. On 1.9.1945 a regular domestic transport at Prague – Bratislava and Bratislava – Sliač kúpele – Košice was launched. The flights were operated on planes of Junkers Ju 52/3m and Siebel Si 204D type. Recovery of Československé aerolínie (ČSA) (Czech and Slovak air lines) was made on the basis of the air transport group.

After the end of the 2nd World War, after the February events in 1948, but mainly after the formation of Warsaw treaty on  14.5.1955, the Czechoslovakia became a part of the military political block controlled by the Soviet Union. The aviation was under the Soviet doctrine and munition. Main forces of the army, and also the aviation operated on the western boarders of the state and Slovakia became the administrative area with fulfilment of operation, service, observation and training tasks.  The military aviation dislocated at Tri Duby – Sliač airport also operated under this regime up to the end of 1968.

According to historical data the civil part of the airport Sliač started to develop itself in 1947 and works continuously until now. It came through various economic forms. An important milestone in a modern history represented the period when the Letisko Sliač together with other Slovak airports separated from ČSA and as at 1.1.1991 it became a part of a newly formed contribution organization called Slovenská správa letísk (Slovak administration of airports). On the same year it received the statute of a public international airport. Situation continued up to 2004. Pursuant to the Act No. 136/2004 the letisko Sliač airport was transformed to a joint stock company as at 1.1.2005, while the Slovak Republic is the 100% owner. Actually the airport operates under a name of Letisko Sliač, a.s. Up to 2008 České aerolínie (Czech airlines) operated there which operated a regular line Prague – Sliač. Besides that the airport was used by a general aviation and for purposes of irregular charter flights to Bulgaria.

A specific chapter of the letisko Tri Duby airport started to be written on 21.8.1968, when the attempt for a  „Czech and Slovak spring“ was completed by an entry of Warsaw treaty allied forces to the territory of Czechoslovakia. Irkutsk-pink division headquarters operated in Zvolen and Tri Duby Sliač airport except for civil sector for  ČSA was used by the Soviet army as a air base of the Soviet Central group of army forces. This sad chapter of the Zvolen region was completed after 22 years when according to an international treaty on movement of the Soviet army from the territory of the Czech and Slovak Republic on 21.10.1990 the last 59 helicopters flew off from Sliač airport.

The change of military-political situation in the central Europe after 1989 required that the units and bases of the air defence army including fighter planes and support infrastructure were placed in the interest of protection of the air space also in the eastern part of the country.  Almost after 25 years, upon movement of the air and provision personnel and material from the Czech crews Brno, Náměšť and Přerov to letisko Tri Duby – Sliač airport the activity of aviation and air defence of the Czech and Slovak army was renewed in Slovakia. In December 1992 the first MiG29 planes arrived at the Sliač airport. Upon cessation of the Czech and Slovak federative Republic the independent Slovak Republic was formed on 1.1.1993. As to this date the Army of the Slovak Republic was also formed pursuant to the constitutional Act dated 16.12.1992. The Sliač crew at the Tri Duby airport included the 1. Air base in which the  1. stíhací letecký pluk 1. divízie protivzdušnej obrany veliteľstva letectva and PVO Armády Slovenskej republiky (the 1st fighter air regimen of the 1.division of the air defence of the air command and air defence of the Slovak Republic Army) operated and focused on the protection of an air space of the new state. It was the beginning of a new historical stage of formation and creation of new traditions of the military army which also successfully continue until now.

Since August 2002 the Sliačska letecká základňa (Sliač air base) bears the name of one of the most successful fighter pilots of the 2nd World War, Otto Smik, the major-general. Since 1.1.2006  Letecká základňa Sliač became part of the fulfilment of tasks of NATINADS (NATO Integrated Air Defence System). Upon reorganization changes the name of the Letecká základňa Sliač changed in 2009 to Zmiešané krídlo (mixed wing) Sliač, later in 2015 to Taktické krídlo Sliač (tactic wing). The main mission of the wing is to provide untouchability / indefatigability of the air space of the Slovak Republic. Taktické krídlo is equipped with supersonic fighter planes  MiG – 29 and subsonic planes L – 39 Albatros.

Besides other activities one of the first aero-clubs in Slovakia, the Aeroklub Banská Bystrica operated at the airport. It was established in September 1933. After cancellation of all airports unsuitable for motor flying in 1954, i.e. also the domestic airport of the Aeroklub Banská Bystrica in Šálková, the aeroklub has continued in its activity since 1956 at letisko Sliač airport in a rented hangar of the civil part of the airport of former  ČSA. The hangar became surplus assets and in 2001 it was offered for sale. The Ministry of Transport of the Slovak Republic as the founder of the Slovenská správa letísk (Slovak administration of airports) with its office in Sliač became the owner of it. Upon notice of the contract for rent of hangar premises the activity of Aeroklub Banská Bystrica at Sliač is also terminated. After 50 years of activity in 2006 the Aeroklub Banská Bystrica was forced to move into premises of Očová airport.

Letisko Sliač, a.s. was established in 2005 upon transformation of airports from the  Slovenská správa letísk to joint stock companies. Up to the end of 2009 the shareholders of the airport represented the following: Ministry of Defence of the Slovak Republic (67,053%), Banskobystrický samosprávny kraj (Banská Bystrica self-governing region) (16,972%) and Zvolen town (15,975%). The region and municipalities had problems with costly financing of the airport and therefore as from January 2010 all these shares were jointly sold for a symbolic price to the state. The Ministry of Transport and Construction of the Slovak Republic represents the only shareholder of the airport. This way Letisko Sliač was also classified into the state airports, among airports in Poprad, Žilina and Bratislava.

Pursuant to the Act on civil aviation Letisko Sliač, a.s. is certified to operate a civil air operation at letisko Sliač airport. The priorities cover provision of irregular international air transport during the summer season mainly into the holiday destinations. The portfolio of civil air operation covers also business flights of general aviation, sport, training and other special activities in the civil air operation.

Letisko Sliač, a.s. is a supplier of air fuel for landing and taking-off planes and provides rental of premises for business activities which also relate to other than civil air purpose.

As from May 2009 there was a reconstruction and extension of the runway carried out at the airport which prevented from any landing and taking-off of military and civil planes. The reconstruction also covered the area for planes, new parking place was built. The premises of the terminal for passengers were renewed and partially extended. The investments were also financed from the European Union funds and NATO. At the end of May 2010 the reconstruction and construction works on the runway were completed. The airport was officially put into operation for Military Forces of the Slovak Republic on 25.5.2010. Civil planes started to land on the airport on 16.6. 2011. The year 2012 brought several key events which had an influence on the airport. In June the operation in newly-created departure terminal was launched which brought radical changes in the quality of provided services to the clients of the airport. The year 2013 represented a continuous development, construction and progress of the letisko Sliač in all areas. Several projects were realized, like operation of fully automated parking system, a new conveyor belt for luggage at the premises of arrival terminal was installed, new certified entry  / boarding stairs into the planes for passengers were acquired and many others. In order to provide for continuous satisfaction and safety of the passengers and business partners who use our airport before the summer season in 2014 we put into operation and espresso buffet, which is situated in the departure terminal and gate.

Reconstruction of the hangar of air technique represented the main investment priority in 2015 which aim was to achieve a new good-quality level of provided services in the area of parking of planes in the hangar and consequent generation of profits for the company from this service.

In 2017 Letisko Sliač, a. s. company was subject to an audit by the Transport Office as the state administration body in the civil aviation. The main scope of the audit was represented by fulfilment of conditions of the European Commission regulation as well as the European Parliament. The European Union regulation concerns requirements on process procedures of the airports. This audit brought a change of airport parameters qualification from 4D to 4E category. This means for us in practice that the airport may be used by planes with a wingspan up to  64,99 m (from actual 51,99 m) and larger outer wheel gauge. With this regard we increased the level of protection of rescue and fire fighting services from category 8 to category 10. This category enables the rescue fire fighting service to intervene in case of any extraordinary event at all actually existing types of planes. Increase in this category is a result of human resources provision with a quality training in foreign training centres focused fire extinction of leaking fuel under a pressure, and provision of required fire fighting and rescue tools / means. And for us, the employees of letisko Sliač airport is represents a confirmation that the attempt to develop the airport had and still has its meaning.