Václav Havel Airport has opened a new commercial zone for tourists from the Schengen area. Launching a commercial zone of over two thousand square meters was allowed thanks to moving security checks. The gate scanners made room for fashion shops, toy shops and a restaurant. The airport wants to generate more money from non-aviation business. Six new shops and one market-like restaurant are supposed to lure Europeans to engage in higher spending.

About a third of the revenues of Prague Airport are now gained from non-aviation activities. Last year it earned about 2.5 billion crowns and would like to increase the amount this year. That is why it has expanded its new commercial zone in Terminal 2, which is intended for people traveling within the Schengen area. It took advantage of the trend where the number of passengers is growing and many of them fly across Europe.

“The new commercial zone enables us to meet the demand of constantly increasing numbers of passengers. Tourists can find a new and interesting range of products in the shops and the new restaurant concept offers them a comfortable meal. We wish to satisfy the tourists, because if they are satisfied, they will spend money of which we will have some resources,” said Václav Řehoř, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Prague Airport. This is because the airport receives a regular fixed income from tenants, as well as a percentage of successful sales.

Therefore, Terminal 2 has six new stores – four from Lagardére Travel Retail group (three fashion shops with The Fashion Place and one Rituals cosmetic shop), Hamleys toy store and a shop with handbags of the Italian brand Coccinelle from the Tom Plus group.

“Shops are tailored to the Schengen customer, who differs from other tourists flying around the world. These tourists travel more often, so they do not see the airport environment as exclusive. Spectacular luxury is not what will appeal to them. The spaces are smaller and easier but must offer high quality goods. We rely on proven strong brands, from which we offer new items and best sellers,” explains Richard Procházka, Director of Lagardére Travel Retail.

According to him, the European customer wants to be pampered and find what he cannot find elsewhere. And so even the tourist buys a gift at the last minute before the flight – for example Hugo Boss, Lacoste, Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, Superdry, Michael Kors or Swarovski brand. Tourists will take advantage of the sales, which are not very frequent in the airport environment outside of seasonal periods.

A new restaurant from the Swiss gastronomic network Marché is targeting European customers, who more and more pay attention to a healthy diet. It is designed as a marketplace, offering a relatively narrow range of fresh products supplied exclusively from domestic suppliers. All the food is prepared by chefs in front of the guests.

“The vegetarian section and pizza make up 75 to 80 percent of our revenue. It is mostly preferred by tourists from the Nordic countries and Italians like to eat pizza. We are trying to offer local specialties, which tourists like to taste – for example, Czech sausage beats a classic steak,” explains Zdeněk Krotký, director of Marché for the Czech Republic.

Although Prague Airport had previously been labelled as a place where only the better-positioned travellers and tourists can afford to visit a restaurant, according to Řehoř, this is no longer the case. “Beer can be bought from 49 to 150 crowns. You just need to know where to go,” Prague Airport Chief said. The state-owned company cannot dictate to tenants the prices they should sell drinks and food. “Prices decreased when the airport opened its own restaurant with main course prices around 130 CZK,” he added.

Prague Airport now has 114 stores or restaurants, and today’s expansion of the commercial zone in Terminal 2 has been the largest since its opening in 2006.

A new children’s playground will fill the new premises. For capacity reasons, no other major expansion of commercial zones is planned by the airport. A further increase in the number of stores could occur in relation to the overall expansion of the airport (parallel runway and Terminal 2), in which the company intends to invest about a billion euros (25.7 billion CZK) and which will occur around 2026.

Last year 2018, Václav Havel Airport handled a record 16.8 million passengers, which is nine percent more than the last year. The number of take-offs and landings also increased by almost five percent, to 155,530 movements. The number of passengers has increased every year since 2013.