Passengers return to Prague airport more slowly than to its European competitors

Passengers return to Prague airport more slowly than to its European competitors
Passengers return to Prague airport more slowly than to its European competitors

26.5. – Passengers return to Prague airport more slowly than in the case of its European competitors, such as airports in Vienna or Warsaw. This follows from data from the Association of European Airports (ACI Europe). According to industry representatives, this is the result of little state support during the covid pandemic, but also greater dependence on the Ukrainian and Russian markets or the decline of the previously dominant carrier ČSA.

The year 2019 was a record year for all three mentioned airports in Central Europe from the point of view of aviation, the Prague airport handled approximately 17.8 million passengers, the Warsaw airport 18.8 million people, the Vienna airport 31.6 million.

The Covid pandemic has caused major drops in passenger handling at all airports around the world. At the Prague airport, there was a decrease in passengers by almost 80 percent, in Vienna by 75 percent, and in Warsaw by 71 percent. According to the forecast of the Association of European Airports, European airports will reach their pre-Covid numbers at the turn of 2024 and 2025, but for Prague Airport it will probably be a year later.

Comparing the years 2022 and 2019, in terms of the number of checked-in passengers, Prague Airport performs worse than its competitors in Central Europe. Compared to 2019, Prague airport is missing about 40 percent of passengers, in Vienna and Warsaw it is about 25 percent.

“The restart of Czech aviation is happening, but it is slower than in the case of other European countries,” said Transport Minister Martin Kupka recently at a meeting on the situation in aviation. According to him, this is due to the absence of a large carrier that would bring other destinations to Prague Airport. He also mentioned the outage of destinations in Russia and Ukraine, which were important for the ČSA carrier.

According to Prague Airport director Jiří Pos, two main reasons can be seen behind the slow growth against the competition. One is the connection of the Czech market to the Ukrainian and Russian markets. The second is the collapse of the carrier ČSA, which is based at Prague Airport. Before covid-19, according to Pos, the carrier generated 2.5 million passengers a year, this year it expects 150,000. “That is something that will not be replaced quickly,” said Pos.

The director of the airport sees in this crisis of the dominant carrier an opportunity to get rid of similar risks in the future. “Prague Airport is not a hub, but a destination,” he said. It does not act as a hub for major carriers, which he says minimizes the risks of major downturns in the event of a major airport carrier crisis. “The risks are diversified,” added Pos. This year, Prague Airport aims to handle 13.5 million passengers.

EY’s Director of Strategy and Transactions, Petr Kováč, stated that the slower return of passengers is due, among other things, to insufficient state support for aviation during the covid-19 pandemic. “Most European countries have implemented state aid in the aviation industry, the Czech Republic was unfortunately an exception,” he said.


Photo: LAN

The article is in Czech

Tags: Passengers return Prague airport slowly European competitors


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