The management of Prague airport is very optimistic regarding the future of air transit in the Czech Republic. The visions of development focus on investments of 27 billion Czech crowns, and the doubling of the number of passengers.
Smaller modifications in the airport area are planned during the first years, and a major investment in the airport is planned after 2020. The investments will primarily cover the building of a new parallel takeoff and landing strip which has been proposed for ten years, and also expansion of the current Terminal 2. The airport based the estimations on projections for doubling air traffic above Europe in the next 20 years. It can also be expected that the number of Czech tourists, flying abroad, will grow.
“We are growing carefully according to the amount of passengers. Five million more than in the present day means expansion of everything – from parking lots and check-ins to other systems and services. That is the reason we worked on development studies, which will enable us to expand gradually,” Vaclav Rehor, the chief of Prague airport management explains.
Terminal 2 will be expanded part by part
The long-term plan of Prague airport includes the expansion of Terminal 2 in several stages. It will slowly become the main check-in place, where the passengers will go through a security check. An expanded terminal will increase the number of planes from the current 50 to 75.
Approximately 9 billion Czech crowns will be paid for a new runway. Another 9 billion will go to expanding the terminal, and the last 9 billion is planned for the building of an Airport City, which will contain, for example, offices and parking lots. “All European airports are preparing for further growth, and we must join them,” Rehor explains.
A record number of 13 million passengers traveled through Prague airport last year, and this year the number should increase another 8%. According to Rehor, the airport can be used by 21 million people in the near future. Current capacity is around 15 million.
We need a parallel runway if we want to increase capacity up to 28 million people. It is supposed to be finished before 2025. Citizens of some Prague districts are protesting against the building of a new runway, while other citizens are actually welcoming it. The airport got a positive opinion for the building for another five years from EIA, regarding environmental protection.
Some airports with one runway are able to check in even more passengers than 28 million at Ruzyne; for example, Gatwick in London. According to Rehor, the cost for this is that airplanes have to stay in the air for a longer period of time and wait for permission to land. “This is not the path we would like to take,” Rehor adds.
Terminals according to airlines, not countries
Dividing of the terminal will be a major change for passengers. So far, Terminal 1 serves flights outside the Schengen zone and Terminal 2 is for flights within the Schengen zone countries. In approximately 10 years, this mode should switch and the terminal will be divided according to airlines. It means that, for example, Czech Airlines planes will start from only one terminal.
The company wants to increase the capacity of the airport with smaller adaptations for 2.3 billion Czech crowns until the major modifications will be finished. It means, for example, increasing the number of check-in lines and areas, safety check places, and fast lanes which enable the planes to leave the runway faster.