Václav Havel Airport to get new control tower

The airport is planning to increase its capacity to 21 million passengers per year

Václav Havel Airport Prague will be getting a new control tower that should be operational within five years. The tower will be 80 meters tall, some 30 meters taller than the current one. The existing tower will remain in place as a backup.

The construction should start in about two years. The news was first reported by public broadcaster Czech Television.

The dome of the new control tower will be 20 meters in diameter and will be divided into three floors, according to Air Navigation Services (ŘLP) spokesman Richard Klíma.

The new tower will be needed to accommodate more passengers.

Currently, the tower is capable of handling up to 44 aircraft per hour. That number should increase to 70 per hour with the new tower.

In 2017, Václav Havel Airport had more than 15 million checked-in passengers, which was a record . Airport spokesman Roman Pacvoň told Czech Television that the airport hopes to increase the number of passengers to 21 million per year.

Václav Havel Airport Prague saw its 15 millionth passenger Dec. 21 2017, shortly after midnight.

The airport has become one of the fastest growing airports in Europe for airports handling 10-25 million passengers a year.

Larger capacity planes helped to increase the figures. The Airbus A380 began landing in Prague in May 2016. More airlines also began using Prague as a hub in 2016 and ’17, and the number of routes has risen. Flights from China, in particular, have increased.

The number of passengers handled every year cannot increase much further without new investment. In April 2017 the airport said it could not handle more than 15.5 million per year without upgrades to the runways so they can handle three flights per hour instead of two. An additional parallel runway is also planned.

Prague Airport plans extensions to Terminal 2. It will become the main handling area for both passengers and their baggage, where everyone will pass through one central security control.

“We estimate that we will invest, on the mid-term horizon, in the Terminal extension and parallel runway construction around Kč 27 billion. This will allow us to handle up to 21 million passengers a year. However, we can look even further into the future, at visions for future generations which will allow the increasing of the capacity to 28 million passengers a year,” Václav Řehoř, Prague Airport chairman of the board of directors, said in April 2017 when the airport celebrated its 80th anniversary. Until 2020, the airport plan to invest Kč 2.3 billion in increases to the number of check-in aisles, check-in desks and security control posts. These steps will help increase the terminal capacity to 17 million passengers.

Václav Havel Airport Prague opened April 5, 1937, as Prague Ruzyně Airport with five grass take-off and landing strips forming a star shape.

Prague Ruzyně Airport received a Diploma and Gold Medal at the Paris 1937 World's Fair for the technical conception of the central airport, primarily the architecture of the check-in building now known as Terminal 4. This terminal is now used for VIP flights and state visits.

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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