Czech airspace saw record traffic

The number of plane movements grew almost 7 percentage

Czech airspace saw 836,917 aircraft movements in 2016, an increase of 6.95 percent year on year. This was the third record-breaking year in a row. Since 2002, when the number of movements was 411,256, the air traffic over the country has doubled, according to Air Navigation Services of the Czech Republic (ŘLP).

The biggest customer for using Czech airspace is German carrier Lufthansa, followed by Emirates and Turkish Airlines.

“The mission of ŘLP is always, and under all circumstances, to ensure maximum safety in Czech airspace. This goal was achieved in 2016, when the highest number of movements ever was recorded. At the same time, we provided our customers with all the services at the required capacity while almost no delay was noticed in Czech airspace," ŘLP CEO Jan Klas said in a press release.

The busiest month in 2016 was July, with 87,583 movements. The strongest day was July 30, with 3,018 movements. Based on an average capacity of 150 passengers, some 130 million people went through Czech airspace.

Recovery in air traffic also continues at Václav Havel Airport Prague, where in 2016 the busiest traffic since 2011 was recorded. The total number of movements (take-offs and landings) increased annually by 6.4 percent to 136,419.

Due to its central location, Czech airspace is one of the busiest and most complex in Europe. The average delay value in 2016 amounted to 0.01 minutes per flight, which is significantly below the 0.09 minutes per flight. That is the maximum delay for Czech airspace determined by the European Commission in the context of the performance plan.

There was also a 7.9 percent increase in the number of service units in 2016. This was caused by the increasing number of kilometers flown, as well as by an increase in maximum take-off weight of aircraft using Czech airspace.

Emirates began flying the Airbus A380, currently the largest passenger jet in service, on May 1, 2016 on a route from Prague to Dubai. The plane with passengers weighs over 500 tons. If it goes through 400 kilometers of Czech airspace, the operator has to pay some Kč 20,000.

The Antonov An-225 Mriya, the world's largest cargo plane, also flew through Czech airspace in 2016 and landed in Prague, but this was just one time in the year and not a regularly scheduled stop.

ŘLP has not increased its service prices since 2009. Since February 2015, flight routes in the Czech airspace can be optimized using the Free Route Airspace concept. This saves fuel consumption and mitigates the environmental impact of air traffic.

State-run ŘLP has not released financial figures for 2016. In 2015 its profit was Kč 407 million, down from the previous year by Kč 130 million. Sales of services in 2015 increased by about Kč 300 million to Kč 3.7 billion. The sale of disused buildings in 2014 distorted the income figures for that year, explaining the seeming discrepancy.

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