Václav Havel Airport Prague sets summer record

Almost five million passengers went through the airport from June to August

Václav Havel Airport Prague had its best summer ever, with 4,912,087 passengers cleared between June and August. The increase was also partly due to new vacation destinations offered by some airlines. In the summer, 69 carriers served 162 destinations worldwide.

“During the three summer months, Václav Havel Airport has cleared 15 percent more passengers than in the same period of the previous year. From the point of view of passenger number, July was the record month when we handled over 1.7 million passengers,” Prague Airport board chairman Václav Řehoř told the media.

The reasons are the same as in the first half of the year: new destinations plus increased capacities or frequencies for existing carriers. “Last but not least, the number of transported persons is also very high, with average aircraft occupancy exceeding 85 percent in July and August,” Řehoř said.

The largest year-on-year increase was reported in June, when the airport cleared 19 percent more passengers year-on-year. August was the strongest month for number of take-offs and landings with 14,922, a 9 percent increase year-on-year.

The most common destinations were Moscow, Paris, London, and Amsterdam. Moscow recorded over a 15 percent increase year-on-year in the number of passengers transported from Prague.

Passenger numbers to Antalya, Turkey, increased by 50 percent and to Burgas, Bulgaria, by 20 percent. The busiest long-distance destination in the summer was Dubai.

The summer increase follows after a successful start of the year. During the first six months the airport also recorded record numbers. It handled 6,764,752 passengers while during the same period of the previous year, the airport serviced almost 1.2 million fewer passengers.

The greatest number of passengers used direct connections around Europe, and significant year-on-year growth was recorded on flights between Prague and Africa and also to the Middle East and Asia.

The most visited country based on the number of passengers was Britain, while the most popular destination was Moscow during the first six months of the year, outranking Paris/Charles De Gaulle.

Václav Havel Airport Prague celebrated its 80th anniversary April 5, 2017, and was originally called Prague Ruzyně Airport. It received a Diploma and Gold Medal at the Paris 1937 World's Fair for the technical conception of the central airport, primarily for the architecture of the check-in building now known as Terminal 4. This terminal is now used for VIP flights and state visits.

Capacity has been insufficient since the 1990s, according to the airport's website. There are plans to build another runway, but this has been delayed several times.

One of the most significant events in the airport history was its seizure by Soviet paratroopers on the night of Aug. 20–21. 1968, when it was used for Soviet troops and transports for the invasion of Czechoslovakia.

It has also been in films. The airport posed as Miami International Airport in the 2006 James Bond film Casino Royale.

Right after former president Václav Havel's death on Dec. 18, 2011, an online petition organized by Slovak film director Fero Fenič asked the government and the Parliament to rename Prague Ruzyně Airport to Václav Havel International Airport. This name change took place Oct. 5, 2012, on what would have been Havel's 76th birthday.

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