Prague’s Václav Havel Airport is set to expand its second terminal within the next decade under major investment plans that have just been announced. However, the construction of a new runway has been delayed.
Prague Airport’s Terminal 2 was opened in 2006 and serves flights to and from visa-free Schengen states. By 2028 the terminal will be expanded at a cost of CZK 16 billion, according to plans approved by the Ministry of Finance and unveiled on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš told journalists that the airport was going to invest around CZK 55 billion over the next 30 years.
It and other projects will be financed from the airport’s own resources so will not place a strain on the state budget, said Finance Minister Alena Schillerová, who added that Prague Airport aimed not to respond to what was happening in neighbouring countries but to take the lead on development.
The facility is at present close to its maximum capacity and is forced to turn down some requests for slots at highly sought after times. It handled 16.8 million passengers in 2018.
The planned expansion should boost capacity, which will gradually increase to a full 30 million passengers a year.
Prague Airport chief Václav Řehoř said the implementation of the first phase of long-term development plans would contribute to the development of air transport in the Czech Republic, including the possibility of opening new routes.
Meanwhile, the construction of a new runway should begin in 2025, three years later than previously planned. It ought to be in operation from 2028 and will cost around CZK 9 billion.
Airport officials said that the parallel runway, of more than three kilometres, will primarily serve for landings. The capacity of aircraft movements at the airport, meaning take-offs and landings, should ascend to 72 an hour.
After the runway’s completion, night flights at Prague Airport should also be completely reduced.
However, the airport has not yet purchased all the necessary land and is currently negotiating with the few remaining owners. Currently it has about 90 percent of the land required.
Other long-term projects include the utilisation of idle land at the airport. Ideas include a hotel, development centre, sports facilities and medical centre for tourists.
The development of the airport should also include its connection to a railway line, plans for whose construction was presented to journalists by Jiří Svoboda, head of the Railway Infrastructure Administration. That train service should also begin in 2028.
The Václav Havel Airport in Prague handled more than 7.8 million passengers in the first half of 2019, which represented a year-on-year increase of five percent. The projected number of passengers for the entire year is 17.7 million.