Sweet: Václav Havel Airport Prague wins gold medal for best Czech honey

Bees are kept at Václav Havel Airport to monitor the environment

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 25.09.2019 09:05:29 (updated on 25.09.2019) Reading time: 3 minutes

Václav Havel Airport Prague has been won praise for many areas of aviation and design, but it has also been getting awards for something quite out the ordinary: it’s honey.

The airport has won the Gold Medal in the Czech Honey competition for the sixth year for its flower honey. “The highly prized honey is the result of several years of work by the entire team of airport beekeepers and their exemplary professional beekeeping care.” Prague Airport, the company that operates Václav Havel Airport Prague, said in a press release.

The annual
competition is held by the Beekeeping Research Institute (VÚV)
in Dol, Central Bohemia, which gave
the airport sample a 100% rating, the highest
possible mark. In total, 360 samples took part in the

The honey is evaluated in VÚV’s accredited laboratory in four criteria: physical and chemical properties, overall aesthetic impression of the product, mandatory data on the label, and correct labeling including additional data.

airport bees
Beehive at Václav Havel Airport Prague. via Prague Airport

Beekeeping started
at Václav Havel Airport in November 2011, when Prague joined other
international airports in monitoring the air quality around the
airport by using bees as part of efforts to reduce the negative
environmental impact of air transport.

Currently, the airport has seven bee colonies, which in the summer months number approximately 350,000 bees. Beekeepers this year gathered almost 80 kilograms of honey from their honeycombs.

However, bottling
honey is not the main reason for bee breeding. “Thanks to the bees
that travel a few kilometers around during their journey to pollinate
flowering plants, we can obtain valuable data on possible
environmental pollution in the surroundings by chemical analysis of
honeycomb pollen,” Soňa Hykyšová, director of Environmental
Protection of Prague Airport, said.

Samples of honeycomb
pollen and honey are sent for analysis to an accredited laboratory at
the University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague (VŠCHT Praha),
where residual analysis of the content of heavy metals and organic
substances, or polyaromatic hydrocarbons, is carried out.

“The analyses
carried out in recent years confirm good air quality around the
airport,” Hykyšová said, adding that in addition to biomonitoring
of honeycomb pollen, its department has been monitoring fruit and
agricultural crops for several years.

airport bees
Bee colony at Václav Havel Airport Prague. via Prague Airport

As biodiversity
reduction, especially among insects, is becoming an important issue,
Prague Airport is trying to support other insect species in addition
to bees. In summer, insect hotels were installed on the airport
grounds and other activities will follow as part of the new
biodiversity support program, Prague Airpor stated.

The general public
unfortunately cannot buy the honey. It is not intended for commercial
sale due to low production and biomonitoring purposes, but it is used
as a souvenir for Prague Airport partners.

It can also be
regularly tasted by visitors to various events for the public, which
are organized or attended by Prague Airport. Recently it was possible
for residents of the surrounding municipalities to try it during the
airport roadshow organized by Prague Airport.

Václav Havel Airport Prague opened April 5, 1937, as Prague Ruzyně Airport. Right after former president Václav Havel’s death on Dec. 18, 2011, an online petition asked the government to rename Prague Ruzyně Airport to Václav Havel International Airport. This name change took place Oct. 5, 2012, on what would have been Havel’s 76th birthday.

Airport began operations April 5, 1937. It won a design award at the
Paris 1937 World’s Fair for the architecture of the original check-in
building, which is now Terminal 4. Among other achievements, the
airport stood in for Miami International Airport in the 2006 James
Bond film Casino Royale.

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