Metro to airport still possible

The city is once again looking at creating a subway link

The idea of extending the metro to Václav Havel Airport Prague isn't dead, as Prague Mayor Adriana Krnáčová (ANO) has not excluded the idea from discussions on how best to connect the city center with the airport.

It had seemed that suburban rail service from Prague to Kladno with a stop near the airport was going to be the final answer, after years of debate. An extended tram line had also been discussed, but lost out to the suburban rail idea.

Krnáčová commented that the idea of creating a metro link from line A (the Green Line) from the existing station at Nádraží Veleslavín to the airport should be examined for feasibility. Currently, buses go from that stop to the airport.

The mayor said that at this stage, it is only about gathering additional information. “I asked the DPP (Prague Transit Company) to check this option and see how quickly it could be realized how much it would cost, and whether such an option would pay off,” Krnáčová said, according to media sources.

The DPP has also been testing longer buses as a solution to reaching the airport as the current ones are often crowded due to people with luggage.

The Railway Infrastructure Administration (SŽDC) is also preparing documentation for modernizing the tracks to Kladno for suburban line that would stop at the airport and at commuter stations in the city. While the plan has been characterized as high-speed rail, it would simply be standard but modern trains, according to experts.

Krnáčová said the rail option was at least 10 years away and she is looking to see if something can be done sooner as improving the connection to the airport is a high priority. The city does not have control over the construction of rail lines, but it does have some authority over the metro operation.

The idea of extending the metro from the Dejvice stop to the airport was discussed in the past, when Dejvice was the final stop of the A line. But instead, the line turned south to connect with Nemocnice Motol. That extension opened in 2015. The plan under consideration does not count on extending the A line from Nemocnice Motol back up to the airport, but on making a spur line from Nádraží Veleslavín.

Passenger service at Václav Havel Airport Prague has been increasing, making it urgent to improve the connection. Over the next 20 years, passenger numbers are expected to increase on average by 3.4 percent per year. In 2010 the airport handled 10.9 million passengers, and this year it is expected to see 14 million. The airport has been increasing capacity above the European average. In 2016, passenger numbers at Václav Havel Airport Prague were up 8.7 percent, while the average was 5 percent. The airport is also investing in expanding the capacity of the terminals so they can handle 17 million people per year and upgrading the runways so they can handle one-third more traffic.

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