Prague Airport Set To Spend $1bn On Huge Expansion

Plans for a major expansion of Prague’s Václav Havel Airport have been announced by Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš in order to meet the airport’s increasing demand. The airport is currently operating at full capacity, with 17.7 million passengers predicted this year.

Tarom A318-111 YR-ASA Prague Airport
Prague Airport is struggling to cope with increasing demand. Photo: Jonathan Winton Photography via Flickr

 

Details of an impressive expansion plan for Prague’s Václav Havel Airport have been revealed. The project, confirmed by both the Czech government and the airport itself, is scheduled to stretch across the next 30 years.

It aims to alleviate the airport’s increasing struggle to meet capacity demands. Over the four-year period between 2014 and 2018, the number of passengers handled by the airport annually increased by almost six million.

What will be covered by the expansion project?

Business Traveller reports that the overall expansion will be split into short-, medium- and long-term projects.

One of the key developments will be a new runway, which the airport has confirmed will primarily be used for landing aircraft. The start date for construction has now been pushed back three years to 2025 and the project is predicted to cost around $400 million.

In addition to the runway, there will also be extensive upgrades to Terminal 2, which is the newest of the airport’s four terminals.

According to Prague Airport’s Executive Director Non-Aviation Business, Jiří Petržilka, Terminal 2 will become the focal point of passenger movement through the airport.

Prague Airport Terminal 2 Departures Hall in March 2019
Terminal 2 will be the main focus of the expansion project. Photo: Gforce800 via Flickr

“We are currently in the first phase of designing – phase one – for development of Terminal 2, where all the traffic will be centralised,” he said.

Additional developments will include a centralized, partially automated security checkpoint and a new Terminal 2 car park with electric charging stations. Terminal 2 will also get a new external plaza and public space.

Meanwhile, Terminal 1 will receive upgrades that will allow it to service one widebody or two narrowbody aircraft.

Prague Airport Terminal 1 - Arrivals Hall from the outside
Terminal 1 will also receive upgrades. Photo: Gforce800 via Wikimedia Commons

The airport says that the upgrades will allow it to become the “first choice airport for travellers in the catchment area of the Czech Republic, southern Poland and the Czech-Saxon border region, and to be a preferred transfer hub as well.”

The expansion project should enable the airport to eventually hand 30 million passengers per year once fully completed. A new train connection between the airport and Prague itself will also increase accessibility.

Conflicting reports

There have been a number of conflicting reports about the predicted cost of the airport expansion project, ranging from $1 billion all the way up to $2.4 billion.

Simple Flying has requested confirmation of the project costs from Prague Václav Havel Airport itself, so we will update this article once we receive an accurate figure.

What has been made clear is the fact that the finances for the expansion will be covered by the airport rather than the Czech government, despite the fact that the airport is state-run.

According to reports by Czech Radio, Finance Minister Alena Schillerová says that this approach will ensure the airport expansion project doesn’t place additional pressure on the state budget.

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