The Penta investment group is to build a second international airport for Prague, Mlada fronta Dnes reported this week. The airport will be built at Vodochody outside the capital, on the grounds of military aircraft maker Aero, which Penta acquired in January. It says passenger numbers should reach around 1.5 million a year - around a tenth of the number that go through Prague's only international airport at present, Ruzyne. The Vodochody airport should go into operation in two or three years' time.
After years of laying staff off, Czech banks are now hiring again - and in large numbers, Hospodarske noviny reported this week. As the economy grows more Czechs are taking loans and mortgages, and expecting better service when they go to the bank. Extra staff are needed to man new branches and call centres, the paper said.
The largest piano-maker in Europe, Petrof, has managed to avoid bankruptcy, after a court in Hradec Kralove this week refused a request from its US distributor to put the firm into receivership. Meanwhile, Petrof has filed an arbitration complaint against the company GIC for unpaid debts. The Czech firm has also pulled out of a contract with GIC, meaning none of its pianos will be sold in the United States this year. The company was founded by Antonin Petrof in Hradec Kralove in 1864.
The Czech Environment Ministry has given the green light for the cultivation of genetically modified flax in this country, the news website Aktualne.cz reported. However, it is a trial project, with one company allowed to plant a maximum of 300 m2 a year in the north Moravian village of Vikyrovice over a ten-year period. The GM flax should be more resistant to pests and fungi. Currently genetically modified maize and potatoes are grown in the Czech Republic.
Czechs are consuming more and more fuel. The Czech Association of Petroleum Industry and Trade said this week that total fuel consumption had grown by almost 40 percent since the year 2000; it said the rise was being led by the consumption of diesel oil. However, per capita consumption is still behind figures for western Europe.
The consumption of meat has fallen by 17 percent since the fall of communism, according to figures released by the Ministry of Agriculture. That has largely been caused by a sharp drop in beef sales since 1989 - in fact, Czechs today eat two-thirds less beef. By contrast, they are eating increased amounts of white meat - consumption of poultry has doubled. Czechs now consume an average of 80 kilos of meat a year.
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