published: 24.09.2013, 13:11 | updated: 27.09.2013 10:22:02
Prague - Nine Mi-171S military helicopters today flew from the Prerov, north Moravia, air base, symbolically confirming its forthcoming end, general staff spokeswoman Jana Ruzickova has told journalists.
The helicopters made the farewell flight over the adjoining towns and villages, making for their new base in Namest nad Oslavou, south Moravia.
They will be followed by soldiers and all the military materiel and the base will be finally closed at the end of the year, Ruzickova said.
The Defence Ministry recently decided to close the air base in order to cut the costs.
Until recently, the air base employed almost 700 soldiers and civilians.
"As the helicopters have flown away, the air base is no longer a full-fledged helicopter base," Deputy Commander Michal Kytlica said.
"For us, it was a symbolical end. I informed the mayors of the surrounding towns and villages, asking them for consent for the flight at the altitude of 150 metres. All the mayors agreed," he added.
After the departure of the helicopters, the air base will be gradually moved away as well.
Ruzickova said the air traffic at the Prerov air base would be ended on October 1, 2013.
"This will be followed by the removal of the required materiel to the 22nd air base and other military units," she added.
Ruzickova said in its current form, the air base would be closed on December 31.
The staff is leaving as well.
She said the air base employed 570 soldiers and 119 civilians.
Almost two-thirds of the soldiers were transferred to other military bases across the country, Ruzickova said.
Now the Prerov airport will be used by the state-owned LOM aviation equipment repair company.
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