Air transport is slowly recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic-related travel restrictions impact, as evidenced, among other things, by the 2021 Václav Havel Airport Prague results.
Compared to 2020, nearly 20% more passengers were handled, while the number of aircraft movements increased by 13%.
The busiest day, in terms of the number of handled passengers, was 22 August 2021. The greatest number of passengers flew from Prague to Spain, Greece, and Italy. Amsterdam, Paris, and London were the most frequented out of the cities connected with Prague by direct flights.
“Last year, we handled a total of 4,388,826 passengers, which is twenty percent more than in 2020, but still represents a drop of about 75% compared to the most successful year so far, the year 2019. Throughout the course of 2021, outbound tourism was predominant. Certain traditional holiday retreats recorded an increase in interest of hundreds of percent,” Jiří Pos, Chairman of the Prague Airport Board of Directors, commented the results.
In 2020, 3.6 million passengers were handled, with the first two months of the year not affected by the current pandemic.
In terms of individual cities, most passengers took direct flights from Prague to Amsterdam, followed by airports in Paris and London, i.e., the major European transfer hubs. In terms of individual airlines, Prague Airport customers used the services of Smartwings, Ryanair, Lufthansa, KLM, and Czech Airlines the most.
“The year 2021 was also the year many connections were resumed and the number of frequencies to already operated destinations increased. We welcomed five brand new carriers at the airport, and added connections to six, previously not served, destinations, including remote exotic places,” Jiří Pos added. The new carriers comprise Bees Airline, Blue Air, Blue Bird Airways, EgyptAir and Israir.
In addition, the German carrier Eurowings launched its Prague base operations in November 2021. The new destinations represent mainly European cities, namely Hamburg, Lviv, and Nice.
The new additions among exotic destinations include Zanzibar, Maldives, and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, all operated by direct flights. A total of 52 carriers serviced their flights from Prague to 138 destinations on regular and ad-hoc routes in 2021.
The airport recorded a positive trend in inbound tourism in the last quarter of 2021, just before the latest Covid-19 wave outbreak.
During the period, 26.9% more passengers were handled on the routes from typical inbound tourism destinations than in the previous quarter. Typical inbound tourism destinations include countries such as the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Israel.
The increase in connections and carriers meant a year-on-year increase in the number of aircraft movements by 13% to 61,164. The busiest day at Prague Airport was 22 August, when 30,987 passengers were handled.