Prague airport traffic exceeds expectations

by   CIJ News iDesk III
2022-09-22   11:11

Traffic at Vaclav Havel Airport Prague keeps growing beyond expectations with 3.85 million passengers handled in the summer months, which exceeded the projected numbers by about a third, airport operator Letiste Praha' board head Jiri Pos said today.

Holiday destination flights were the main growth stimulus, with Czechs making up the majority of passengers after a long time, Pos noted.

In the whole year, the airport expects to handle a total of around 10.5 million passengers, Pos said, as against the original prospect of 8.7 million made at the start of this year.

Next year should see the airport's traffic get still busier with 12.7 million passengers expected, compared to last year's 4.38 million, according to Pos.

The growth should continue despite stoppages of flights to Ukraine and Russia that numbered over 1.2 million passengers before the COVID epidemic.

In the pre-pandemic year of 2019, 17.8 million passengers passed through the airport.

The June-August period is traditionally the strongest season of air transport and the Prague airport statistics bear this out, showing an increase of over 2.2 million passengers against 2021.

Air traffic alone is also on the rise and is now at 70 percent of the 2019 volume and flight numbers reached 85 percent of that year's figure, according to Pos.

After a long time, passengers starting their trips from Prague prevailed, with the fullest flights to Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey and Britain.

London was the leading destination, followed by Antalya in Turkey, Amsterdam and Egyptian resorts Hurghada and Marsa Alam.

The latter was among several holiday destinations that exceeded pre-COVID flight occupancies, in that case by 70 percent.

Smartwings was the Prague airport's most active carrier with a 35 percent share, followed by Ryanair with 14 percent.

Amid problems resulting from flight cancellations and delays all over Europe, the airport fared well and delays in Prague could mostly be chalked up to delayed flights from other destinations, Pos said.

This successful run was also facilitated by new recruitments started in the spring, with 400 temporary workers added to the airport's permanent staff during the summer. This was to compensate for staff shortages the airport faced after around 600 redundancies in the wake of the pandemic downturn.

The airport has started to draw up air schedules for the winter season and for next year.

The autumn should see an increase in flight frequencies and capacities.

New destinations will include Muscat and Salalah in Oman, Erbil in Iraq and Chisinau in Moldova. There will be new lines to London, Oslo, Madeira and Egyptian resorts.

Letiste Praha is also negotiating on lines to Soul, Vietnam, Singapore and Taiwan and contemplating resuming further lines to the USA and Canada, according to Pos.

Letiste Praha has also entered into negotiations with carriers regarding next year's fees which it doesn't plan to increase in order to further boost traffic.

With a view to the current energy crisis, Pos does not expect the rise in costs to be fatal as the airport has long-term energy supply contracts, having secured 95 percent of energy for next year and 60 percent of energy for 2024.

The airport's 2022 balance should be in the black.

Vaclav Havel Airport Prague offers direct flights to about 150 destinations in the summer season that will last until the end of October. Destinations include resumed and new connections like New York or Riyadh. Some other lines are seeing an increase in flight frequency. The airport boasted some 190 destinations prior to the coronavirus crisis.

Source: CTK