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Spilve Airport (Latvian: 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 Riga's city centre, from which aircraft took off as early as the First World War. It became the first international airport of Riga in the 1920s and fell into disuse in the 1980s after Riga International Airport was built.

Spilve Airport
Riga spilve.jpg
Airport typeCivil
Elevation AMSL5 ft / 1.6 m
Coordinates56°59′28″N 024°4′30″E / 56.99111°N 24.07500°E / 56.99111; 24.07500Coordinates: 56°59′28″N 024°4′30″E / 56.99111°N 24.07500°E / 56.99111; 24.07500
Spilve is located in Latvia
Location of airport in Latvia
Direction Length Surface
ft m
14/32 5,413 1,650 Asphalt
Spilve Airport, seen from River Daugava


Spilve Airport was first used as early as World War I. From 1928, regular commercial flights of German-Soviet Deruluft linked Spilve with Berlin via Königsberg, Moscow via Smolensk and Leningrad via Tallinn. From 1932 Polish LOT connected Spilve to Warsaw via Vilnius and to Helsinki via Tallinn. In 1936 German Lufthansa started flights Berlin-Königsberg-Kaunas-Riga-Tallinn-Helsinki. In 1937 Swedish Aerotransport (A.B.A.) and Soviet Aeroflot started a route Stockholm-Riga-Velikiye Luki-Moscow. The Latvian Valsts gaisa satiksme had regular flights from Spilve to Liepāja.

After World War II and the Soviet occupation, it was rebuilt as the hub for Aeroflot. A new ring taxiway was added and the tarmac changed. The terminal building still remains as a notable example of Stalin's neoclassical architecture. The airfield was closed for regular flights in the late 1980s.

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.

Current useEdit

The airfield at Spilve is now published in the Latvian pilot's guide "VFR Guide Latvia". A new (3rd) hangar has now been built housing some 4 or 5 aircraft (ultralights and aerobatic aircraft) complementing the 2 existing hangar buildings. The larger hangar seen on satellite imagery being used to house up to 12 aircraft ranging from ultralight to Cessna 210, while a 2nd hangar to the north east is used for ultralights and flex-wing microlights.

Riga Spilve is being increasingly used as a base for training private pilots.

The terminal building is currently being turned into the Latvian Aviation museum.


External linksEdit