Airport K. Vary wants to expand the airport in 2026, by which time it wants to raise money
The Karlovy Vary Region would like to complete the modernisation of the Karlovy Vary Airport runway in 2026. More than a billion investment should expand the airport's capabilities and enable large aircraft to land. This would expand the possibilities of where and from where planes could fly from Karlovy Vary. Private money could also be involved in financing the modernisation.
The Karlovy Vary Region, which owns Karlovy Vary Airport, has already completed an environmental impact assessment and is preparing documents for a building permit. According to the plan, the airport runway should be both widened and extended. It would meet the conditions for landing larger aircraft, which currently have to land in Prague, for example.
At the same time, the region is discussing the financing method, Kulhánek said. "We are currently considering mixed financing, both from the Karlovy Vary Region, from the state budget and from private entities. This also resulted from a debate with Transport Minister Martin Kupka (ODS) that the participation of private capital is necessary for financing from state money," said the Karlovy Vary Governor.
The original plan envisaged that the extension of the railway and its extension would be done as two stages in two years in a row. According to Kulhánek, however, it seems to be a better option if everything could be prepared so that both stages could be done in one construction season. Instead of two years, during which the airport would have to be largely out of operation, Karlovy Vary Airport would lose only one tourist season. The Region intends that the year of construction would be 2026.
According to current estimates, the runway extension should cost about CZK 800 million, while the runway extension is expected to cost about CZK 300 million.
The region is still working out how private money could be involved in the financing. However, according to the governor, there is interest. One of the options would be to involve a private entity in the operation of the airport so that it would have a share in its profits in the future. Although the airport is still losing money, with the number of flights expected this year, the airport could gradually start to approach a balanced economy. And if flights from more distant destinations and with more passengers could land there, it is likely that Karlovy Vary Airport could generate a profit.
For this year, Karlovy Vary Airport expects a loss of CZK 20 million. However, it should be less than last year. New air routes to Tunisia and Israel, which are expected to handle up to four times more passengers than last year, should help. The beginning of the crisis in Ukraine and the period of the covida pandemic, when the airport lost all regular flights from Russia, were crucial for the airport.