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Czechs Approve Renaming Prague Airport After Ex-President Havel

The Czech government approved naming Prague international airport after former President Vaclav Havel, the poet dissident who became the face of the Velvet Revolution.

The renaming, which was agreed by his widow Dagmar and family, will be carried out on Oct. 5, his birthday, almost 10 months after he died of a long illness, the government said on its website yesterday. The total costs associated with the change will amount to 4 million koruna ($212,940).

The move to change the Czech Republic’s main airport to Prague Airport - Vaclav Havel, was the idea of Fero Fenic, a film producer and acquaintance of Havel. The idea was widely supported, though some opposed it. His former secretary, Vladimir Hanzel, noted that the former president hated flying and suggested a public institution such as a university would be a better venue to honor Havel.

Havel was president for almost 13 years, first as head of Czechoslovakia and then the Czech Republic after the peaceful split of the country with Slovakia in 1993. He became an international symbol for his opposition to totalitarian regimes in the former Soviet bloc and for his role in the 1989 Velvet Revolution in then-Czechoslovakia.

He died on Dec. 18, at the age of 75.

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