Václav Havel Airport has record year

The airport handled almost 18 percent more passengers than in 2016

Václav Havel Airport Prague had another record year in 2017. It handled a total of 15,415,001 passengers, an increase of 17.9 percent compared to 2016. This confirmed the airport’s status as one of the fastest growing airports in the category of 10 to 25 million passengers in Europe.

The airport also had a total of 148,283 take-offs and landings. The most successful month of 2017 was July with 1,703,193 checked-in passengers. On average, 42,233 passengers per day passed through Prague’s international airport last year.

Britain was the most popular destination country and London the top city.

“The increase in passenger numbers for 2017 is excellent and exceeds the European average. Compared to the European results currently available only for the period January to November 2017, Václav Havel Airport in Prague reached an 18.4 percent increase in the number of checked-in passengers in these monitored months, while the European-wide growth was 8.7 percent,” Václav Řehoř, chairman of the board at Letiště Praha, said in a press release.

Compared to the previous five years, the last year's increase in the number of checked-in passengers at Václav Havel Airport is was in double digits for the first time.

Řehoř said the increased figures were due to the arrival of new carriers, the opening of new lines and an increase of capacities on the existing lines.

“Generally, the increase is influenced by the greater willingness of people to spend on the one hand and the increasing affordability of flying on the other,” he added.

In 2017, the airport established a total of 16 new destinations. In another two cases, lines were opened to new airports at an existing destination: London / City and London / Southend.

In total, in 2017, some 69 regular carriers operated flights from the Prague Vaclav Havel Airport, flying to 163 destinations. The largest number of passengers traveled from Prague to other European cities, followed by travel to Africa, which recorded a year-on-year increase of more than 66 percent due to increased interest in travel to vacation destinations in the northern part of the continent.

The most frequent use of air links was to Britain, with 15 destinations. Some 1,823,812 people traveled to Britain, an increase in passenger numbers of 6.61 percent. This was followed by Italy, up 29.60 percent; Germany, up 8.10 percent; Russia, up 24.56 percent; and France, up 9.02 percent.

The busiest single destination was traditionally London, where people could fly for the first time last year from Prague to all six international airports. Some 1,247,330 passengers used this destination. The figure however was a drop of 0.7 percent compared to the previous year. Following London, other popular destinations were Paris, Moscow, Amsterdam and Frankfurt.

The amount 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.

Until then, it is necessary to expand capacity using the existing space. By 2020, the airport operator plans to invest Kč 2.3 billion in increases to the number of check-in aisles, check-in desks and security control posts to increase capacity to 17 million passengers.

Václav Havel Airport Prague opened April 5, 1937 as 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 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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