Prague International Airport: description
Prague International Airport is named after Vaclav Havel - the first one is designed for international and domestic, regular and irregular air traffic. The facility is located in the southwest of the city in the Ruzyne area. National airlines Smart Wings, Travel Service Airlines and Czech Airlines are based here. In 2007, Letiště Václava Havla Praha was recognized as the best airport in Eastern and Central Europe.
The first airport in Prague was opened in 1919 in the town of Kleby (today the National Museum of Aviation is located here). However, due to insufficient capacity in mid-1930, the government decided to create a new state-owned civilian airport in Ruzyne. Prague Ruzyně Airport was inaugurated on April 5, 1937, and in the same year received the Gold Medal and the Paris Fair Diploma for the advanced technical concept of the terminal building. He was designed by architect Adolf Bensch.
The rapid development of air transport forced to expand the territory of the airfield.Already in the first months its area was increased 4 times - from 80 hectares to 320 hectares. Reinforced runways with lengths of 280 m and 500 m, as well as taxiways, were built. A year later, the length of the runway was increased to 950 m and 1000 m, respectively. During the war, this process did not stop. By 1944, the largest of them reached 1,800 m.
After the war, upgraded technical equipment and communications. In 1960, an architectural competition was announced for the construction of a new passenger terminal building, which was won by architects Karel Filsak and Karel Bubeníček. They also designed a system of three runways, the longest of which reached 3200 m. On this occasion, the airport area was expanded to 800 hectares.
The newest time
In 1989-1993, the northern wing of the terminal was reconstructed. On January 17, 2006, Terminal No. 2 was put into operation. The new design attracts attention with elegant architectural forms, as well as energy-saving technologies.
On October 5, 2012, the airport was named after Vaclav Havel, who became the leader of the movement for overthrowing the communist regime and subsequently took the office of President of the Czech Republic.This event was preceded by a petition by the Slovak film director Fero Fenic, which was signed by 65,000 people in a few days.
The modernization of the runway allowed (starting in 2016) to receive the largest of the existing Emirates passenger airliners, Airbus A380, plying the Prague-Dubai route. Another significant event was the arrival of the longest production aircraft of the present Boeing 747-8 (76.3 m). It is operated by the Korean company Korean Air and runs between Prague and Seoul.
Also from 2016 three new Chinese airlines arrived at the airport:
- China Eastern (Shanghai).
- Hainan Airlines (Beijing).
- Sichuan Airlines (Chengdu).
Prague Airport is equipped with a set of Visual flight rules (flights within the line of sight) and Instrument flight rules (instrument flights). This allows air traffic controllers to lead aircraft day and night in any weather according to the EUROCONTROL safe air navigation rules.
The track system consists of three runways. The oldest of them, 04/22, 2120 meters long, is closed for landing / take-off and is used as a taxiway, as well as for parking large aircraft (such as the An-225).
The most loaded is runway 06/24 with a length of 3,715 meters (80% of flights). It has the most successful orientation according to the wind rose, which allows you to take off and land on both sides.The capacity of the track is 48 takeoffs / landings per hour. The 12/30 strip with a length of 3250 m is one-sided and less frequently used (20%). In the future, it is planned to build parallel runway 06R / 24L with a length of 3,550 meters in parallel to 06/24. It will be located 1,525 meters south of the existing route.
At the Prague airport there are two main passenger terminals, two general aviation terminals, and also cargo. Most flights depart from the Northern Terminals (# 1 and # 2). Southern (No. 3 and No. 4) serve irregular flights, small private jets, as well as VIPs, including official government delegations.
It is easy to determine from which terminal and wing a particular flight is serviced. On the scoreboard of the Prague airport all the necessary information is indicated, including the exact time of departure, possible delays and delayed flights.
- No. 1 is used for flights outside the Schengen zone. It was opened in 1997, includes wing A and B.
- No. 2 is used for flights within the Schengen zone. Commissioned on January 17, 2006, includes wing C and D.
- No. 3 is used for private and charter flights. Opened in 1997.
- No. 4 is used exclusively for VIP flights and state visits. This is the oldest part of the airport, which was opened on April 5, 1937.
There are also two cargo terminals:
- Cargo Terminal №1, operator - Menzies Aviation Czech.
- Cargo Terminal №2, the operator - the company Skyport.
Over the past 15 years, passenger traffic has more than doubled: from 6,314,653 people in 2002 to 15,415,001 in 2017. By the number of passengers transported in 2017, Prague Airport took the 1st place in the Czech Republic, the 2nd in Eastern Europe and the 38th in the EU countries.
This is due to the development of the tourism sector and a significant increase in flights of low-cost airlines. Every year more than a million people are sent to the UK, Germany, Italy. Slightly fewer guests from Russia and France - about 900,000.
Prague airport departures
In 2017, 66 airlines flew through Prague at the peak of the summer season to 154 destinations in Europe, Russia, Asia, Africa and North America. At least 10 carriers use high-capacity wide-body aircraft, including the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-8i.
If we analyze the departures on the board of the Prague airport, it becomes obvious that in 2018 the number of flights increased.Most of the new routes (eight) opened the budget carrier Ryanair. Among the new carriers is China Eastern, which launched a flight to Xi'an.
The main partners are the following airlines:
- České aerolinie.
- Travel Service.
- Wizz Air.
- Air Cargo Global.
- "Yakut Airlines".
- Korean Air.
The most popular destinations in 2017 were London, Paris, Moscow, Amsterdam, Frankfurt am Main, Dubai, Tel Aviv, Brussels, Barcelona.
How to get there
From Prague Airport it is quite easy to get to the major cities and resorts of the Czech Republic thanks to an extensive transport network. The airfield bends around major regional routes D6 and D7, leading to Karlovy Vary, Chomutov and, bending around Prague, to the central regions of the country. The fact that the airfield is located on the outskirts of the city allows us to avoid traffic jams that are typical of the congested streets of the capital.
Directly to Prague, passenger terminals are connected by an extensive network of city bus lines. For example, bus number 100 will take you to Wroclaw Square in 45 minutes, No. 191 travels through the areas of Liboz and Břevnov to Smíchov. At night, route number 910 goes through the center to the south-east. The cost depends on the time of the trip: for a 90-minute ticket you will have to give 32 kroons (90 rubles), plus 16 kroons (45 rubles) for each suitcase.A half-hour ticket will be cheaper, but 30 minutes is not enough to get to the center.
A trip on the Airport Express is much more expensive - 60 kroons (170 rubles). But passengers get a bonus in the form of free baggage allowance and save travel time (30-33 minutes). The route connects Prague Airport with the Central Railway Station.
Also there are tram line №119, which will take you to the metro station "Nadrazhi Veleslavin", and route taxis. Travel by minibus is not cheap - 150 CZK (420 rubles).
From the bus station in front of the terminal number 1 depart regular buses to Kladno. RegioJet intercity buses depart every 30-60 minutes to Karlovy Vary and Cheb. It is planned to build a rail link to the airport. Construction is expected to start in 2018.