Farewell Baneasa

Baneasa Airport closes today. As of tomorrow, all of the low-cost airlines which have until now used Baneasa as their Bucharest base move to Otopeni.

Heading for Otopeni. Click for source

Baneasa will apparently survive as an airport, but will be open to private planes only. That, at least, is the plan. Do not be surprised to see a development of posh houses go up on part of the site at some stage in the future. (The actual terminal building should remain. Indeed, in 2011 Baneasa was declared a historic building of national importance. See here).

When we first moved to Romania, Baneasa was the city’s internal airport, serving only destinations within Romania (and, in a bout of nationalist fervour on the part of Tarom, Chisinau in Moldova). We used it a few times to fly around the country, and loved it: sparse, with few frills and few flights it was perfectly suited to its purpose. You were in and out in minutes. It was also convenient for the city centre.

Baneasa was not therefore an intrinsically bad airport; it just got too busy. Kept as an internal airport it would have been fine, much like our favourite Romanian airport, Satu Mare.

What did for Baneasa of course was the coming of the low-cost airlines. Originally built to accommodate no more than one plane at a time, Baneasa could not cope with tens of flights and thousands of passengers per day. That’s when it became hell on earth, and easily Europe’s worst airport.

So bad was it that more than once – when the difference in price was not too much – we have paid the extra to use Otopeni.

One low-cost airline, easyJet, refused to fly from Baneasa at all.

The knock-on effect of Baneasa’s closure of course will be the transfer of thousands of passengers to Otopeni. The new extension opened last year should mean that it continues to be an excellent airport, while any initial crowding in the check-in area will be eased in the summer, when a second departures terminal is due to open. Otopeni remains one of few things Bucharest can be proud of on the transport infrastructure front. (Shyster taxi drivers aside, of course).

Bucharest In Your Pocket has all you need to know about Otopeni – including tips on how to get a cheap taxi – right here.

  • Came into Otopeni the other day and – despite the vast number of gates – we still had to be taken from the plane by bus. What’s that all about? (Tarom too, not a lowcost).

    I bet if they really do use Baneasa for business people in private jets that it will get a serious makeover very quickly.

    (not been to Satu Mare, but my favourite airport in Romania is Sibiu. Completely new for the capital of culture year, not too big, not too small, clean, well maintained, and modern. Meanwhile Cluj, which has a fair amount of traffic is absolutely woeful. Targu Mures is just as bad, but basically has about two planes a day)

    • ‘I bet if they really do use Baneasa for business people in private jets that it will get a serious makeover very quickly.’

      Could be the beginnings of a new verse for Leon Rosselson’s Palaces of Gold!

  • My most memorable plane flight ever was a flight from London to Baneasa on Wizz Air. And the fun didn’t stop even after I was outside trying to negotiate a taxi ride. A passport control officer came outside looking for me saying that he didn’t stamp my passport the right way!

  • Phil

    It’s ok, CFR are reinstating the Henri Coanda Express, so that’ll solve any transport bottleneck to Otopeni…

  • Mr Rearguard

    The shops selling goodies are gonna have a battle on their hands stopping the gypsies pinching everything before flying on to Spain & Italy to continue their thieving, the swines!

    • Parmalat

      =))

  • anon

    development for what? there are hundreds of apartments unoccupied in baneasa/pipera already.

    Leave it as is.

  • Ayce

    There is talk about shortening the runway by 1-1.5km, and opening some of the area to development, the justification being that private jets don’t need 3 km long runways.