Václav Havel airport in Prague is set to see major investments over the next decade to accommodate the increasing number of passengers. According to the vision for the future presented this week on the occasion of the airport’s 80th anniversary, it expects passenger numbers to double within the next two decades.
The investment to the tune of 27 billion crowns will go towards increasing the capacity of the existing terminals, improving the area in front of the terminals and extending the parking capacity. The airport also envisions building a new runway, which has been planned since the 1960s.
“We grow carefully based on the increase of passenger numbers. Five million more people than we handle now means that we have to increase capacity everywhere - from parking spaces, to check-in, runway system and services. In cooperation with renowned international consultancy firms, we have drafted development studies that will allow us to implement the growth in stages,” Václav Řehoř, chairman of the Prague Airport board of directors, said.
Over the next 20 years, passenger numbers are expected to increase on average by 3.4 percent per year. In 2010, the airport handled 19.9 million passengers and this year it is expected to handle around 14 million people. Last year, passenger numbers were up by 8.7 percent, while the European average was five percent.
At the moment, the airport can handle up to 15.5 million passengers a year. According to Mr Řehoř, passenger capacity should be increased by another two million per year in the near future.
The long-term plan envisages the extension of Terminal 2, which is to take place in several stages. In the future, the terminal is set to become the main handling area for both passengers and their baggage.
According to Řehoř, the main reconstruction works should be completed by 2025. By that date, the airport should also have a new parallel runway. Both these changes should allow the airport to increase the capacity to 21 million passengers a year.
One of issues that also remains to be solved is the link between the airport and the city centre, which is unlikely to happen earlier than in eight year’s time.