Milan is no longer only a centre for shopping for Czechs, but it has become a gateway to the Italian mountains and lakes. People also fly more often to Rome and thanks to this, the Vaclav Havel Airport has announced 36% year-on-year growth in the number of flights to Italy in the first half of the year. Besides the traditional destinations, Dubai is also getting popular. From September an Airbus A380 with increased capacity will start flying there.

Among 15 destinations to which the Czechs fly most often from Prague-Ruzyne, Milan recorded the highest growth, actually 43 percent, which means 75,000 passengers. Roman airports Ciampino and Fiumicino, with 34% growth, are in second place in the chart for the first half of the year.

“The number of flights to Italy also grew because of the regular flights to Sicily, particularly to Trapani. The number of flights to Napoli, by easyjet airlines, also grew. The trend of growing number of flights to Italy is supported by other airlines operating on the lines there, like Czech Airlines, Alitalia or Travel Service,” Ms Janouskova added.


To Hanoi through Dubai

Another destination which is in demand, and to which people fly 26% more often than last year, is – surprisingly – Brussels. “With Brussels, the reason probably is the comparison with the first half of 2016, when the traffic was influenced by the terrorist attack that happened there. After the temporary decrease, the interest in direct flights returned,” Janouskova points out.

A quarter more people also flew between Prague and Dubai this year. “We notice a long-term increase in interest in Dubai. Step by step the number of the airlines, as well as the capacity of the planes, increased,” Ms Janouskova explains.

Borivoj Trejbal, the director of the Czech branch of Emirates Airlines confirms her words: “Dubai serves as a transfer station to other interesting destinations such as Australia, China, Japan, Maldives, Mauritius, Sri Lanka or Thailand,” Mr Trejbal says. He refers to the new direct line from Dubai to Hanoi, which reacts to increasing demand from the large Vietnamese community, living in the Czech Republic.

The popularity of the route Prague-Dubai made the Emirates Airlines decide to use the biggest airplane in the world – Airbus A380 – for this regular daily line. Thanks to this, the passenger capacity has grown by 44%. Moreover, the Airbus A380 will start to operate on this line from September. This will bring record capacity of 615 passengers.


The least people fly to Frankfurt and Istanbul

Among the destinations that were not so successful in the given period, is Frankfurt. The number of passengers who travelled to this city from Prague dropped by 1 percent compared with last year. Frankfurt was the only destination in the top 15 that noticed a decrease. Minimal growth was also noticed in Istanbul and London.

It is interesting that today, the capital city Prague announced it would support the establishment of a new direct flight Prague – Tokyo during the next three years.

Vaclav Havel Airport in Prague checked in 21% people more compared to last year, and this year it expects growth in personal transportation of at least 15 percent in total. In the first half of 2017, the airport checked in 6.76 million passengers in total, while during the same period in 2016 it was almost 1.2 million people less.

“Current occupancy of the airplanes is nearly 80 percent, and that is a very high number. If the airport does well in the rest of the year as well, we should approach 15 million checked-in passengers a year,” says Vaclav Rehor, the chief of the board of directors of Vaclav Havel Airport in Prague.

Direct lines to European destinations are in the highest demand; 90% of passengers from Prague travelled to them. But the interest in the lines outside Europe is also growing. The trend from last year, when many travellers returned to the lines between Europe and Africa, continues (year-on-year growth 81%). Also, more tourists headed to the East.