8 OCTOBER 2012
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Vaclav Havel Prague Airport (PRG) is the new name of what was once called Prague Ruzyně International Airport in honour of the late Czech leader who passed away last December. The renaming follows a trend started in 1963 by New York Idlewild becoming JFK very soon after the President’s assassination.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place last Saturday (5 October) attended by dignitaries and family on what would have been his 76th birthday. Mr Havel, a playwright and writer turned political activist, led the peaceful 1989 overthrow of communism in then Soviet-backed Czechoslovakia.
Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said that he hoped every Czech air passenger leaving Prague would think of the man to whom they owed their freedom.
"This is the right place (to bear Havel's name) – it was he who enabled the Czech nation to travel out of this country", he added.
"November 1989 was possible only because of Vaclav Havel", said Mr Schwarzenberg.
Vaclav Havel became President of Czechoslovakia in 1989 after the fall of communism. When Slovakia split in 1993, he remained Czech leader until 2003.
He died last December after having suffered from respiratory problems for many years. www.prg.aero/en
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