Prague Airport expects soaring passenger numbers next year

The summer season so far has been substantially busier than expected, leading the airport to revise its expectations for 2024. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 18.08.2023 15:42:00 (updated on 18.08.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Prague Airport has announced that it is gearing up for an expected rise in passenger numbers, projecting to handle around 14.9 million travelers in 2024 – an increase of 10 percent year on year. 

The airport has already welcomed 3.1 million passengers during July and early August. London remains a popular summer destination, maintaining its position as the top choice among travelers, which is also likely due to the high amounts of British tourists visiting Prague.

High numbers in 2023 so far

Last year's outlook predicted Prague Airport would accommodate 12.7 million passengers in 2023. However, after taking into account the evolving travel season and the gradual recovery of the aviation industry, the forecast has now increased to 13.6 million people. This adjustment was attributed to an impressive flight occupancy rate of 89 percent throughout the year so far.

This summer, Prague Airport witnessed its strongest first holiday weekend ever, accommodating over 160,000 passengers. The airport's peak passenger count for a single day reached 56,433 on July 23, with June 30 recording the highest aircraft movements at 439.

Smartwings is the dominant airline at Prague Airport with a 34-percent market share, followed by Ryanair at 14 percent. Prague Airport handled 5.8 million passengers in the first half of 2023, roughly 36 percent more year on year.

New routes and perhaps a new runway?

Prague Airport anticipates a 23-percent rise in checked-in passengers compared to last year during this summer season. Nevertheless, this still falls short of pre-pandemic 2019 figures. Efforts are underway to establish new long-distance routes, with discussions ongoing with U.S. and Indian carriers. Reinstating long-haul routes, however, poses complexities due to aircraft capacity constraints.

Transport Minister Martin Kupka highlighted growing traffic at regional airports and emphasized the need for sustainable navigation services. Financing for these services involves contributions from regions, the state, and the Czech Air Traffic Control.

The newly opened České Budějovice airport is expected to manage traffic via a remote tower system set to launch within the next two to three years. The goal is to minimize costs by leveraging the existing workforce. It could also take some strain off Prague Airport.

Prague Airport has also recently revealed ambitious plans to bolster its capacity by expanding terminal and runway facilities to accommodate up to 21.2 million passengers per year in the near future.

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