Timișoara Traian Vuia International Airport

Timișoara Traian Vuia International Airport (IATA: TSR, ICAO: LRTR) is an international airport serving Timișoara, Romania. Located in the historical region of Banat, the airport is named in honor of Traian Vuia, a Romanian flight pioneer and a Timiș County native. It is the fourth-busiest Romanian airport in terms of air traffic and the main air transportation hub for the western part of Romania and for the Danube–Criș–Mureș–Tisa Euroregion. The airport serves as an operating base for Wizz Air and is considered a backup airport for Bucharest (OTP), Budapest (BUD) and Belgrade (BEG).

Timișoara Traian Vuia International Airport

Aeroportul Internațional "Traian Vuia" Timișoara
Summary
Airport typePublic
OwnerMinistry of Transport and Infrastructure
OperatorRomanian Civil Aeronautical Authority
ServesTimișoara
LocationGhiroda, Timiș County
Opened28 February 1964 (1964-02-28)
Focus city for
Time zoneEET (+2)
  Summer (DST)EEST (+3)
Elevation AMSL106 m / 348 ft
Coordinates45°48′36″N 21°20′17″E
Websiteaerotim.ro
Map
TSR
TSR
Runways
Direction Length Surface
m ft
11/29 3,500 11,483 Asphalt
Statistics (2022)
Passengers1,193,923
Cargo7,817 t

Name

Timișoara Airport is named after Romanian flight pioneer Traian Vuia (1872–1950). A model of his airplane-automobile Vuia 1 is on display at the airport.

Timișoara Airport has had several names over time. At its beginnings it was called Timișoara Communal Airport.[1] During the communist period, it was called Giarmata Airport, after the name of the village with which it borders. It received its current name on 6 February 2003.[1]

Location

The airport is located 12 km northeast of the center of Timișoara.[2] The airport is located in the homonymous district (Aeroport) and borders Giarmata-Vii, component village of the commune of Ghiroda. The access to the airport is made on European route E70 from Timișoara to Bucharest.[2]

History

1915–1917: Base for German zeppelins

The first air base in Timiș County was operational between November 1915 and April 1917, on the communal grassland of Dudeștii Noi. It was a German military air base, used for stationing, loading and repairing zeppelins.[3] During World War I, zeppelins erected from the base in Dudeștii Noi bombed Bucharest, Ploiești, Chișinău and Thessaloniki.[4] After the closure of this air base, in 1919, the villagers tried to dismantle it piece by piece, but the metal framework of the hall that once housed the German zeppelins collapsed on them, and five people died.[4]

1935: First civil airport

Timișoara's first civil airport was put into use on 10 July 1935, based on a telegraphic order of the Ministry of Interior. It was located on the training ground of the Military Garrison, approximately on the current site of Iulius Town.[4] The first aircraft landed here on 17 July 1935.[3] The official inauguration of the temporary airport took place on 20 July 1935.[3] At the time of its establishment, it had no material endowment. The airport's technical building was made of planks and tarred cardboard and had three rooms and a stove. One room was for the commander, another for the traffic and administrative offices, and the third room served as a waiting room.[4]

On 27 July 1936, following a protocol concluded between the authorities and the airport commander, it was decided to allocate a fund of approximately 5 million lei for the construction of a definitive airport. The money was destined for the construction of a terminal, a hangar and two other buildings that were to serve as radio and telegraph stations, located in the Cioca plainfield.[4] The winner of the auction was the firm of architectural engineer August Schmiedigen from Bucharest, for the amount of 4.5 million lei.[3] During the project, flights to and from Timișoara were further taken over by the temporary airport.[4] On 23 September 1936, the first excavations were carried out at the foundations. The construction of the terminal was completed in 1938, lacking the connections to electricity, telephone, water, sewage, etc. The construction of radio and telegraph stations was completed in the same period, lacking only the necessary equipment.[3] The auction was deemed suspicious, reason why the Superior Administrative Court annulled its adjudication and, consequently, decided to suspend the works.[4]

In 1941, the airport administration relocated to the Cioca plainfield, and flights also took place here.[1] Until its dissolution in 1864–1865, the village of Cioca, known in Hungarian as Csoka, was located on the site of the airport. Due to difficulties in financing the works and the improper soil (clay soil, standing water), the project of relocating the airport was abandoned, and the structures already built were ceded to the Central Meteorological Institute.[4] The Cioca Airfield is used today by owners of recreational aircraft, as well as by utility aviation.

Since 1942, the airport has operated on a 91-hectare plot of land in Moșnița Nouă. The land was used by the airport based on a protocol declaring it an area of military interest.[3] The runway had a maximum length of 1,200 m and a width of 600 m.[4] As of 1944, there was a 9 × 5-meter plank cabin with three rooms: a commander's office, a weather office and a registry, administration and archive office. There were also a plank shed covered with makeshift tiles and a 20 × 8-meter shack, brought from Deta.[3] It had no radio or telephone, and the lighting consisted of 27 oil lamps.[4]

1976–1989: First external flights

Between 1952–1953, the construction and commissioning of the runway for the needs of the Military Aviation Unit near Giarmata-Vii took place.[3] In the 1960s, Timișoara became an increasingly important economic center, so the decision was made to build a large civil airport on its current location, between the communes of Giarmata, Ghiroda and Remetea Mare. The domestic terminal was inaugurated on 28 February 1964.[1] Between 1964–1965, the runway was extended by 500 m (from 2,000 m to 2,500 m).[3]

In the mid-1970s, the Bucharest administration decided to modernize the Timișoara Airport. As the airport at that time could not meet the strategic military needs (its location at the western border of Romania), but also the increase in the number of passengers and civil air traffic (the introduction of international flights was desired), the decision was made to modernize and expand the airport by a state decree in 1976.[3] Between 1977–1979, during the works, the air traffic in the area was taken over by Arad Airport, the transport of passengers from Arad to Timișoara and back being carried out with Timișoara Airport's own means.[3] During this period, the runway was extended from 2,500 m to 3,500 m, and the international terminal, the control tower, the official lounge and the administrative building were inaugurated.[1] Passenger and cargo flights began on 20 September 1979.[4] International flights began a year later, on 1 November 1980.[4] In the 1980s, passengers had six weekly flights to Bucharest and two weekly flights to Constanța and back. Between 1986–1989 there were two weekly flights to and from Frankfurt. During certain periods of this decade, Timișoara was connected by direct flights to Chicago and New York, one flight per week.[4]

Timișoara Airport was under siege during the 1989 Revolution. TABs were placed at each gate, and buses carrying passengers or employees were carefully checked by militiamen.[4] The airport became an extremely important spot, with an impressive deployment of forces, and during the days of the Revolution, generals, ministers and delegates sent here from Bucharest by the presidential couple Nicolae and Elena Ceaușescu to repress the Revolution passed through here.[3]

After 1989: Extension and modernization works

The 1989 Revolution brought a major change for Timișoara Airport. The gradual economic liberalization and the commencement of some external flights, towards the West, opened new opportunities both for the population in the area and the foreign investors.[3] Between 1993–1995, major repairs were made to the runway. In 1998, the storage hall for cargo and express courier services was inaugurated, Timișoara Airport thus becoming a freight transport hub.[3]

Between 2000–2001, major repairs were carried out to the movement surfaces (runway, apron and taxiway) and the lighting system. The domestic terminal was modernized in 2002, and the transit terminal was inaugurated on 19 May 2003, the airport becoming an air hub, connecting important cities in Romania with cities in Italy and Germany.[3] In November 2003, however, TAROM ceased its route from Bucharest to New York via Timișoara.[5][6] The international terminal was expanded and modernized in 2004.[1] Between 2005–2009, a third runway was built, and the apron was expanded by about 30%.[3] Between 2007–2008, works were carried out to extend the terminal for domestic and international flights, the airport area increasing by 30%.[3] A new terminal for external arrivals was built between 2019–2021, replacing the old arrivals terminal.[7]

In 2017, Timișoara International Airport became the first Romanian airport to be certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency.[8]

Future developments

The airport administration plans to build, in the extension of the external arrivals terminal inaugurated in 2021, an external departures terminal with an area of 12,000 m2; the terminal is scheduled to be completed by 2023, when Timișoara will hold the title of European Capital of Culture.[7] The capacity of the terminal will increase by 150% as 10 new boarding gates, 20 check-ins and 10 document checkpoints will be built. Alongside there will be six new security checkpoints, shopping and catering facilities.[9] The general objective of the project is the development of the transport infrastructure of Timișoara International Airport, to support a flow of about three million passengers per year. The county road 609D that connects the ring road to the airport will be widened to four lanes to make traffic free-flowing.[10] An 8-kilometer road connecting the Timișoara Airport and A1 will also be built to shorten the distance between the airport and the motorway and reduce heavy traffic in Ghiroda and Remetea Mare.[11] In 2021, Timiș County Council took over an area of about 46 ha of land for the construction of an intermodal freight center at Timișoara Airport and its subsequent connection to the regional intermodal freight center in Remetea Mare.[12] There are plans for an Airport City, a complex and innovative concept for Romania, through which will be built, in addition to air transport facilities, connecting road and rail transport infrastructure, hotels, restaurants, shops, conference centers and exhibition halls, with both public and private funds.[13]

Military use

Giarmata Airport was home to the Romanian Air Force 93rd Air Base, founded in 1953.[14] The 93rd Air Base was disbanded in September 2004 with the MiG-21 Lancers and IAR 330 moving to Câmpia Turzii for reassignment to the 71st Air Base.[15] Buildings and land belonging to the former 93rd Air Base, totaling 240 ha, were transferred to Timișoara Airport in 2006.[16] The air base also operated the MiG-23 Flogger, which was retired in early 2002. Over 30 MiG-23s are in storage at Timișoara Airport. Nowadays, the military section of the airport is an annex of the 71st Air Base.

Terminals

Terminal A in February 2019

Terminal A is the oldest terminal, built in 1964 and modernized in 2002.[1] The initial construction was small, but at the end of 2010 the area of the terminal doubled by the inauguration of its extension (2,000 m2). The expansion was necessary due to the increase in traffic, but also for the separation of passenger flows. The terminal will be dedicated to flights to non-Schengen destinations, with an estimated annual traffic of 180,000 passengers. It currently operates as a terminal for domestic flights and has a processing capacity of 500 passengers per hour and three boarding gates. This is where most Romanian airlines operate.

Terminal B was inaugurated in 1980, then expanded and modernized in 2004.[1] It is the largest terminal, with a processing capacity of 800 passengers per hour and nine boarding gates. At the same time, it is the terminal from which most companies operate. Once Romania enters the Schengen area, the international status of the terminal will be lost, as flights departing from and arriving at this terminal will be considered domestic flights. Currently, the terminal is only intended for international flights.

The external arrivals terminal was inaugurated on 29 July 2021. Groundbreaking for the new terminal took place in 2019.[17] It covers an area of 4,383 m2 and is optimized for three passenger flows, with three baggage check-in conveyors, ten document checkpoints and three customs checkpoints.[18]

Airlines and destinations

The following airlines operate regular scheduled and charter flights at Timișoara Traian Vuia Airport:

AirlinesDestinations
Air Connect Constanta (begins 22 June 2023)[19]
Animawings Seasonal charter: Antalya,[20] Enfidha–Hammamet[20] Hurghada[20]
Eurowings Seasonal: Stuttgart (resumes 27 March 2023)[21]
HiSky[22] Bucharest
Lufthansa[23] Frankfurt, Munich
Ryanair[23] Bergamo (ends 25 March 2023)[24]
TAROM[23] Bucharest
Seasonal charter: Antalya,[20] Hurghada,[20] Skiathos[20]
Wizz Air[23] Barcelona, Bari, Beauvais, Bergamo, Bologna, Charleroi, Dortmund, Hahn, Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden, London–Luton, Madrid, Memmingen, Rome–Fiumicino, Treviso, Valencia
Seasonal: Santorini, Zakynthos (begins 14 June 2023)[25]

Statistics

The airport's traffic rose significantly in recent years. For example, in 2016 there were an average of 40–45 aircraft movements per day and an average of 3,200 passengers, compared to 2005 when there were an average of 15–20 flights per day and an average of 1,500 passengers. The main destinations at the airport are Bucharest, London, Munich, Milan and Brussels.

Although it experienced a dramatic decrease after the bankruptcy of Carpatair, the negative trend reversed by 2015 when Wizz Air decided to allocate a new aircraft to the base at Timișoara Airport and open six more new routes. In terms of domestic traffic, Timișoara Airport attracts 15.1% of the total number of passengers boarded at Romanian airports, 32.8% of the total tons of cargo loaded and 13.2% of the total number of flights.[26]

Annual passenger traffic at TSR airport. See Wikidata query.
Annual passenger, aircraft and cargo statistics
Year[27] Passengers (% change from prior year)Aircraft movements (% change from prior year)Cargo (tones, % change from prior year)
2006
753,934
24,817
2007
836,574(+11.0%)
25,379(+2.3%)
2008
890,704(+6.5%)
24,768(−2.4%)
2009
973,873(+9.3%)
24,815(+0.2%)
2010
1,138,431(+16.9%)
25,807(+4.0%)
2011
1,200,762(+5.5%)
23,214(−10.0%)
2012
1,035,929(−13.7%)
18,522(−20.2%)
2013
757,069(−26.9%)
11,929(−35.6%)
2014[28]
734,568(−3.0%)
10,255(−14.0%)
1,898
2015[28]
923,570(+25.7%)
11,997(+17.0%)
2,594(+36.7%)
2016[28]
1,160,167(+25.6%)
14,158(+18.0%)
3,868(+49.1%)
2017[28]
1,621,529(+39.8%)
17,808(+25.8%)
4,586(+18.6%)
2018[28]
1,517,309(−6.4%)
17,224(−3.3%)
5,939(+29.5%)
2019[29]
1,595,012(+5.1%)
17,476(+1.5%)
5,167(−13.0%)
2020[30]
470,486(−70.5%)
10,180(–41.7%)
5,148(−0.4%)
2021[28]
639,532(+35.9%)
2022[31]
1,193,923(+86.7%)
15,206
7,817
Busiest routes from TSR by number of passengers[29]
AirportPassengers (2019)Airline(s)
Bucharest422,201Blue Air, Ryanair, TAROM
Memmingen193,504Wizz Air
Milan–Bergamo179,382Ryanair, Wizz Air
London–Luton143,974Wizz Air
Frankfurt78,672Lufthansa
Busiest routes from TSR by number of flights[23]
DestinationAirportFlights per week (2021)Airline(s)
BucharestHenri Coandă Intl.25Blue Air, Ryanair, TAROM
Frankfurt Frankfurt–Main8Lufthansa
Frankfurt–Hahn2Wizz Air
MilanOrio al Serio Intl.10Ryanair, Wizz Air
LondonLuton4Wizz Air
DortmundDortmund3Wizz Air
MemmingenMemmingen3Wizz Air
ParisBeauvais–Tillé3Wizz Air
RomeCiampino–G. B. Pastine Intl.3Wizz Air

Ground transportation

Car

Access to the airport is via Calea Dorobanților and the European route E70, through a roundabout near the village of Ghiroda. A slightly longer alternative (but with less traffic flow) is to exit Timișoara on Calea Dorobanților and drive through the village of Giarmata-Vii instead, before heading back towards the airport. A third option, starting in the northern part of the city, is to use the ring road (DNCT) which, also through a roundabout, is connected with the road to the airport.

Taxi cabs have dedicated parking in front of the terminals. The average cost for a ride to the city center is likely to fall within the range of 50–55 lei, depending on the exact route and traffic flow. Ride-sharing services are not acknowledged by the airport, however the parking lot can be crossed on foot in a few minutes, and a car can be ordered at the entrance.

Several rent-a-car services (Avis, Europcar, Budget, Hertz, etc.) operate within the airport.[32] The rent-a-car counters are located in the public area, their schedule being correlated with the flight schedule.[32]

Bus

The STPT Expres 4 line (E4) connects the terminals to the city center. The bus runs approximately once per hour on weekdays, and less frequently on weekends.[33] Since 13 September 2012, the Expres 4 barat line (E4) connects the airport directly with Timișoara North railway station, the main station in the city.[34] However, this bus only runs a few times per day, to connect the more important flights. Paper tickets can be purchased inside the airport. One ticket costs 4 lei and permits travel for up to one hour after the start of the ride.

OperatorLineDestinationRouteSchedule
STPT E4BastionGhiroda (DN6)–Badea Cârțan Market–BastionEvery 40–60 minutes
E4 baratGheorghe Barițiu StreetGhiroda (DN6)–Badea Cârțan Market–Bastion–700 Square–North StationDepends on flight schedule

Rail

There are plans for a new railway between the East Station and the airport.[35] A train station and a road leading to the airport would be built in its vicinity.[36] Currently, there is a spur line which runs to the airport, but it is only used by Military Unit 01930 for fuel transportation.[37]

See also

  • List of airports in Romania
  • Aviation in Romania
  • Transport in Romania

References

  1. "Istoric". Aerotim.
  2. "Localizare". Aerotim.
  3. Both, Ștefan (15 July 2015). "Povestea aeroportului pentru Timișoara. Pistă pe locul actualului Iulius Mall, aeroport la Moșnița, aerodrom la Cioca". Adevărul.
  4. "Istoria zbuciumată a Aeroportului din Timișoara: de la dirijabile germane, la curse charter". TION. 9 July 2015.
  5. "Timetables". Traian Vuia - Timișoara International Airport. 1 November 2003. Archived from the original on 7 December 2003. Retrieved 5 November 2022.
  6. "Tarom nu mai zboara spre America, dar ramane la New York". Adevărul (in Romanian). 21 November 2003. Retrieved 5 November 2022.
  7. "S-a dat în folosință noul Terminal de Sosiri Curse Externe la Aeroportul Timișoara. Primii pasageri au venit de la München". Opinia Timișoarei. 29 July 2021.
  8. "Aeroportul Internațional Timișoara, la final de an". Aerotim. 21 December 2017.
  9. "Două noi terminale vor fi construite la Aeroportul Internațional Timișoara". TION. 25 December 2017.
  10. Iedu, Liliana (2 January 2021). "Sunt în linie dreaptă lucrările de lărgire la 4 benzi a drumului spre Aeroportul Timișoara". Opinia Timișoarei.
  11. Hoster, Marcel (8 February 2021). "Nouă firme vor să facă proiectul pentru noul drum de legătură dintre autostrada A1 și Aeroportul Timișoara". deBanat.ro.
  12. Bărbulescu, Adrian (6 March 2021). "CJ Timiș preia 46 ha de teren pentru construirea unui centru intermodal de marfă la Aeroportul Timișoara". Club Feroviar.
  13. "Noi oportunități pentru Aeroportul Timișoara: Airport City" (PDF). Jurnalul de Afaceri (26). September 2015.
  14. Both, Ștefan (22 July 2015). "Istoria regimentului de aviație-vânătoare de lângă Timișoara care a avut primele supersonice MiG-21 din România". Adevărul.
  15. "Baza aeriană de la Timișoara va fi desființată". Adevărul. 20 April 2004.
  16. Sabou, Alina (13 April 2006). "Terenurile de la Baza Aeriană Giarmata au revenit Aeroportului Timișoara". România liberă.
  17. Deaconescu, Roxana (29 July 2021). "Noul Terminal de Sosiri Externe de la Aeroportul Timișoara, deschis în sfârșit. Era gata din februarie". TION.
  18. Both, Ștefan (8 July 2021). "Noul terminal de pe Aeroportul Timișoara este gata de inaugurare. La eveniment este așteptat și ministrul Transporturilor". Adevărul.
  19. "AirConnect Begins Operation in mid-Oct 2022".
  20. "Zboruri charter". Aerotim.
  21. "Eurowings Resumes Stuttgart – Timisoara Service in NS23".
  22. "HiSky anunță trei rute pe care le va opera din București din 2022". 31 March 2022.
  23. "Frecvență destinații". Aerotim. Archived from the original on 21 November 2021.
  24. https://boardingpass.ro/oficial-ryanair-se-retrage-de-pe-patru-aeroporturi-romanesti-in-2023/
  25. https://boardingpass.ro/wizz-air-va-inaugura-in-iunie-2023-doua-rute-noi-din-romania-spre-grecia/
  26. Sîrbu, Anca; Țurcanu, Alida (2018). Transportul aeroportuar de pasageri și mărfuri, în semestrul I 2018 (PDF). Institutul Național de Statistică. p. 7. ISSN 2065-7129.
  27. "Evoluție trafic". Aerotim.
  28. "Situații statistice de aeroport pentru perioada 2014 – 2018" (PDF). Autoritatea Aeronautică Civilă Română.
  29. "Rezultate ale activității Aeroportului Internațional Timișoara în 2019". Aerotim. 13 January 2020.
  30. Sîrbu, Anca; Țurcanu, Alida (March 2021). Transportul aeroportuar de pasageri și mărfuri, în anul 2020 (PDF). Institutul Național de Statistică. ISSN 2065-7129.
  31. "Traficul de pasageri pe aeroporturile din România a crescut în anul 2022 cu 87,53%". airportaar.ro. 27 January 2023.
  32. "Transport aerogară". Aerotim.
  33. "Bastion - Aeroport" (PDF). Societatea de Transport Public Timișoara.
  34. Iedu, Liliana (11 September 2012). "RATT înființează o nouă linie de transport în Timișoara: Expres 4 barat, care leagă Aeroportul de Gara de Nord. Vezi întreg traseul!". Opinia Timișoarei.
  35. Bărbulescu, Adrian (6 August 2020). "O singură ofertă pentru studiul de fezabilitate privind legătura feroviară la Aeroportul Timișoara". Club Feroviar.
  36. "Cu trenul până la Aeroportul Timișoara, planul pentru care s-a lansat prima licitație. Vizează o cale ferată ce trece aproape de capătul pistei de aterizare-decolare". Opinia Timișoarei. 7 July 2020.
  37. Hoster, Marcel (21 March 2022). "CFR repară calea ferată specială spre unitatea militară de la Aeroportul Timișoara. Legătura feroviară "civilă" e în pregătire, pe altă rută". deBanat.ro.

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