The number of passengers going through the Czech Republic’s airports last year exceeded 13 million - for the first time since the economic crisis in 2008.
Prague’s Václav Havel Airport last year recorded a nine percent increase in passenger numbers compared to 2015. “The number of dispatched passengers has increased at a faster rate than the number of airplanes. One of the reasons is that there are more long-distance flights to Prague which usually employ larger aircrafts,” Jakub Habarta of Deloitte consultancy told the daily Hospodářské noviny.
The number of passengers at the country’s biggest airport has been increasing this year as well. Some 6.7 million passengers passed through the airport’s gates during the first six months of 2017, which is a 1.2 percent increase on the previous year.
The airport management hopes the numbers will continue to grow even further, reaching over 15 million this year. And within the next 20 years, they would like to handle up to 21 million people.
In order to handle the ever growing number of passengers, the airport needs to extend its Terminal 2 and build a new runway. “If we don’t exceed our capacity within the next few years, other airports in central Europe will get ahead of us,” Václav Řehoř, the chairman of the Czech Aeroholding, told the daily.
While Prague airport has reasons to be optimistic, other Czech airports are dealing with an outflow of passengers. The Moravian capital Brno handled only around 417,000 passengers last year, which is a drop by ten percent on the previous year.
Ostrava dispatched 258 million people, which is a drop by 16 percent, and Pardubice, which handled 183,000 passengers in 2013, only saw 31,000 last year. One of the main reasons behind the trend is the dropping number of Russian tourists and the cancelling of some of the air routes by low-cost carriers.