Prague’s Václav Havel Airport last year handled a record 17.8 million
passengers, which is an increase of one million year-on-year. The most
frequent destination was London.
The growing trend in passenger numbers is expected to continue this year, which will stretch the airport’s capacity to the limit.
Passenger numbers have been growing steadily since 2013. Last year’s 6 percent increase has exceeded the airport’s expectations which were at around 4 percent.
The growth is due to more direct links to exotic holiday destinations as well as more connections to the most frequented European cities.
The late Václav Havel is famous around the world as a statesman and symbol of human rights and democracy. Rather less well-known is that Havel was also a very enthusiastic cook. This year many of the dissident-turned-president’s recipes were gathered in a rather delightful cookbook entitled Kančí na daňčím (Wild Boar on Venison).
30 years ago today, on December 29, 1989, the dissident playwright Václav
Havel was elected president of Czechoslovakia, in a vote that marked a
definitive end to one-party communist rule in the country.
The dissident labelled “an enemy of the state“ by the communist regime was paradoxically elected in a unanimous vote by the country’s still communist-dominated Czechoslovak Federal Assembly.
Following the resignation of not only the communist party leadership, but also of president Gustav Husák, Marián Čalfa, a reformist communist, who then headed a so-called “government of national unity” convinced his party colleagues to fall in line and vote for change.
Thirty years ago this Christmas, Czechs were in an especially festive spirit – the entire Communist Party leadership had resigned a month before, and in a matter of days a majority democratic parliament would elect Václav Havel as president, bringing the Velvet Revolution to a glorious end. Ahead of the holiday, I spoke to Adéla and Petr Mucha – a historian and theologian, respectively, born into practicing Catholic families under Communism – about their experiences with the “Underground Church”, religious figures active in the dissident Charter 77
Both the Police and Interior Minister Jan Hamáček have denied that there
were any attempts to make Prague City Hall begin with the testing of test
facial recognition technology in surveillance cameras. Their statements
were made after Czech Radio’s online news site iRozhlas acquired a letter
sent in September by the Regional Police Directorate to City Hall, which
talked about facial recognition testing in specific areas, including Prague
Airport and strategic metro and railway stations.
According to the interior minister the whole issue has been inflated and the police issued no demands, but simply voiced their suggestions with intent to start a debate. However, iRozhlas has pointed to the fact that the Police Deputy for External Service Petr Matějíček writes twice asking “for a pilot project to verify the functionality of face recognition cameras in selected locations of the city”.
Prague City Hall councillors have indicated they will not allow the police to activate automatic facial recognition cameras in the city.
The state is set to collect CZK 1.6 billion from Prague Airport this year.
The Chairman of the Board of Directors Václav Řehoř told Czech Radio
that this was a logical consequence of the economic results of the airport
which have been developing “above expectations“. He said that
extraordinary revenues, such as the sales of air craft, played a role in
the increased profits. Last year, the state collected only CZK 350 million,
while in 2017 it was CZK 2.5 billion.
The airport is planning to invest tens of billions of crowns in the next few years. This will include a CZK 16 billion expansion of its second terminal, as well as a new parallel runway.
The leaders of the Civic Democrats, Christian Democrats, TOP 09 and the
Mayors and Independents, gathered at the grave of the leading figure of the
Velvet Revolution and later president Václav Havel in Prague's
Vinohrady cemetery on Sunday.
TOP 09 leader Jiří Pospíšil said that the former dissident is a symbol of the return of freedom and democracy to Czechoslovakia, and stressed that Havel was also willing to suffer imprisonment for voicing his ideas.
Aside from honouring the former president, party leaders also commented on Saturday's demonstration against Prime Minister Andrej Babiš. Civic Democrat’s leader Petr Fiala said that he does not expect Mr. Babiš to follow the demands set out by the protesters and that the only way to change the situation was through elections.
The date is November 17, 1989, eight days after the fall of the Berlin Wall. A cordon of Czechoslovak riot police blocks the path of thousands of university students staging a march through Prague, calling for democracy – and freedom. As police truncheons begin to rain down on their heads, they chant “We have bare hands” – we are unarmed. Hundreds are bruised and bloodied; one student reportedly dead. The Velvet Revolution, as it came to be known, had begun.