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A SunExpress Boeing 737-800 departing from Dusseldorf. (Photo: AirlineGeeks

Prague Prepares for Sizable Summer Traffic Increase

Coming off a strong 2018, Prague’s Václav Havel Airport is preparing for yet another busy summer season. This summer is poised to bring in more flights, airlines and routes including the largest long-haul route map the Czech capital’s primary airport has seen in its 82-year history.

Although the entirety of North American connections is currently summer seasonal only, Prague will see the largest route offerings coming this year as the arrival of United Airlines in June will increase the number of long-haul routes offered. United will operate a daily flight through Oct. 4 using Boeing 767-300ERs from Newark, one of its Northeastern hubs. Although there is no direct competition from Newark, Delta Air Lines currently operates seasonal Prague service from nearby John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and American has its own existing seasonal Prague service from Philadelphia.

To the north, Air Transat and Air Canada Rouge will also return to Prague this upcoming summer, adding to the North American route network from Prague. Air Transat will serve the Czech capital from Montreal on a variety of Airbus widebody aircraft, including the Airbus A310, while Air Canada Rouge, Air Canada’s low-cost leisure-oriented subsidiary, will operate Boeing 767-300ER service from Toronto.

The addition of new service for the ever-expanding Prague Airport is being very well received. Chairman of the Board of the Directors of Prague Airport, Vaclav Rehor, commented saying, “This proves our long-term success in motivating an ever-increasing number of airlines to open new routes from Prague, which ultimately means a wider choice of flights for our passengers.”

“During the summer, direct flights will be available from Václav Havel Airport Prague to a total of 16 long-haul destinations, which is the most in the airport’s modern history. In addition to new destinations such as Astana in Kazakhstan or Newark in New York, USA, passengers flying during the summer season will also have the opportunity to fly to New York’s JFK Airport, Philadelphia, Toronto, and Montreal just like last year.”

Besides United, Prague will also welcome three other new faces during the summer season with SunExpress, SCAT Airlines and Air Arabia Maroc all arriving over the next few months. Air Arabia Maroc will arrive first on April 1 with Airbus A320 service to Casablanca, Morocco followed by SCAT Airlines two months later with twice-weekly Boeing 737 flights to Nur-Sultan, Kazakstan (formerly Astana) and, finally, SunExpress will launch more Boeing 737 flights by linking the Czech capital and Turkish vacation destination Antalya. Both Air Arabia Maroc and SCAT Airlines will go uncontested on their first routes to Prague while SunExpress will compete with local airline SmartWings on Antalya service.

But it is not just new faces adding to the expansion at Prague as established names are also adding new routes to the City of 100 Spires with Ryanair being the largest to expand with eight new routes. These new routes include service to cities such as Bari, Italy; Billund, Denmark; Bournemouth, United Kingdom; Gothenburg, Sweden; Stockholm, Sweden and Palma de Mallorca, Spain. Other airlines adding new service to Prague include Vueling with flights to Florence, Italy, Volotea with seasonal flights to Cagliari, Italy and Lyon, France and SmartWings with service to Almeria, Spain; Murica, Spain; Menorca, Spain; Kephalonia, Greece; Split, Croatia and Mytilene, Greece.

During the summer season, Václav Havel Airport Prague will be served by 69 carriers and have flights to 162 destinations across four continents. If the summer season is successful, this will help the airport’s upward trending passenger numbers that have not seen a drop since 2012 and breached 16 million travelers for the first time in 2018.

Ian McMurtry
Ian McMurtry
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