Henri Coanda Otopeni International Airport
Official Names of the Airport
Travelers to Bucharest, Romania, often utilize Henri Coanda International Airport. Because of the airports location in the community of Otopeni, the airport is also sometimes referred to as Bucharest Otopeni International Airport. This is the more commonly used name by local residents. Officially, the facility is known by the airport code OTP. The airport has the highest passenger counts of any Romanian airport. Bucharest is also served by Baneasa Airport that handles about half the passenger volume seen by Henri Coanda International Airport.
The official name of Henri Coanda International Airport pays tribute to a Romanian aviation leader. Coanda designed and built some of the earliest aircraft to fly above the country. His aircraft were among the earliest to utilize a form of turbojet propulsion. Romania celebrates him as the inventor of the jet aircraft although that is disputed by global aviation historians. Romania named the airport in his honor in 2004 and celebrated the centennial of his most notable aircraft design in 2010.
History of Bucharest Otopeni Airport
The German military used the Otopeni area for an airstrip during World War II. After the war, the facility continued as a military base of operations until 1965. With the growth of commercial air traffic to Bucharest, commercial operations were added to Otopeni. This involved several renovations including new runways and terminal spaces. During the late 1960s, the airport was among the most advanced in Europe with the longest and best-equipped runways. By 1970, the airport was handling more than 1 million passengers per year. Currently, about 5 million passengers pass through its gates each year.
The airport uses a single terminal to provide passenger services. This terminal is made up of two buildings leading some to refer to them as separate terminals. The buildings are called the Departure Hall and Arrival Hall and connected by a hallway and shopping area. The two buildings provide about 35 check-in counters with about 20 gates.
The airports cargo terminal has a stated capacity of about 44,000 tons and includes the standard warehouses as well as animal quarantine space and an express center.
Air operations occur on two parallel runways. Both are 3,500 meters or about 11,500 feet long. There are no aircraft size limitations although some aircraft are required to make arrivals or departures by what is referred to as a “noise abatement route.” Recent expansions to the taxiways have increased the air operations capacity of the airport by reducing the time the planes spend moving on the ground. The airport currently sees about 80,000 landings or takeoffs each year.
The runways and other ground facilities at the Otopeni continue to be used by the Romanian Air Force, which uses the facility as a base for a transport unit.
Bucharest Otopeni International Airport currently is exceeding its planned capacity of 3 million passengers by about 2 million people per year. Planned expansions of the Arrival and Departure halls would boost capacity to about 6 million people per year. Looking beyond that expansion, airport leaders are contemplating adding a third terminal building. Their plans include a large sized terminal with a 20 million-passenger capacity built in phases of about 5 million passenger capacity each. No timetable has been set for those expansions.