Tens of thousands attend NATO Days celebrations in Ostrava

About 33,000 people attended the special air force show in Moravia, which organizers say is the biggest event organized in the Czech Republic this year.

ČTK

Written by ČTK Published on 19.09.2021 14:09 (updated on 19.09.2021) Reading time: 1 minute

Roughly 33,000 people attended the NATO Days celebrations at the Mošnov airport in Ostrava on Saturday, Zbyněk Pavlačík, head of organizer Jagello 2000, has told CTK. The event will continue today. 

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the number of visitors is restricted to up to 40,000 a day. The final attendance figures are not yet known. In the previous years, up to 200,000 people attended the Czech Air Force event.

Organizers have stated that this has been the biggest event organized in the Czech Republic so far this year.

Last year, the NATO Days took place without spectators, and viewers could instead watch it on television and the Internet. Pavlačík said he appreciated how many people arrived at this year’s event despite rain in the forecast. 

He said people who arrive from other parts of the country usually come on Saturday, while the locals prefer to attend on Sunday.

On Saturday morning, the NATO Days began with a jump by Czech and Polish paratroopers. The Mošnov airport is about 50 km from the Polish border.

The event ran for eight hours on Saturday. Immigration police demonstrated an airport attack, as helicopters and a reconnaissance unit carried out a raid. Aircraft from the Swedish historical squadron J32 Jansen and SK 35C Draken were also presented.

For the first time, people could see the multipurpose F-35 Lightning II airplane and the unmanned MQ-9 Reaper. The fifth-generation F-35 fighter is invisible to radars and has wide manoeuvring capabilities.

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Pavlačík said this is the first public event in Europe where the MQ-9 Reaper and the F-35 could be seen together. Previously, the Reapers were only seen in news broadcasts about operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

There is no entrance fee for the NATO Days event, but people had to have tickets because of the limited capacity. They also had to provide a negative Covid-19 test or proof of vaccination or recovery.

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