Spilve Airport

Spilve Airport

Spilve Airport (Spilves lidosta, also given as Rīgas Centrālā Lidosta – Riga Central Airport) is a former civilian and military airport in Latvia located 5 km north of the Riga city centre, from which aircraft took off as early as the First World War. It became the first international airport of Riga in the 1930s, which, from 1937, linked the capital city with Helsinki via Tallinn, Warsaw via Vilnius, Berlin and Moscow via Kaunas. After World War II and the Soviet occupation, it has been rebuilt into a 1950s-era airport, the hub of Aeroflot. A new ring taxiway and refreshed surface were added.

The airfield was closed for regular flights in the late 1980s. The terminal building still remains as a notable example of Stalin's neoclassical architecture.

A large technical school existed here until the 1990s with one of each major Soviet aircraft type, including Ilyushin Il-18, Ilyushin Il-62 and Tupolev Tu-134, most broken up around 1996 or 1997. Google Earth high-resolution satellite imagery shows only two general-aviation planes parked on the southern apron, seemingly Antonov An-2s (given their dimension and the upper cockpit windows): one has the usual camo scheme , while the other is painted in a uniform cream color. More than twenty of them were bought on the civilian market in 1992, about ten of which to equip the National Guard (Zemessardze) branch of the new Latvian Air Force, as well as eight Mil Mi-2s , but the An-2s are no more in military use. Furthermore, an image uploaded (showing an ultralight in flight) on this site indicates that the airfield is now used for recreational aviation.

The Rumbula Air Base, 8 nm (15 km) to the Southeast, has roughly suffered the same fate as Spilve.

The problem is to get reliable documents about both the airfield and the aircraft shown, be it from the Latvian Air Force, the government or the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).


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