Air transport remains in deep crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic. At Prague’s Ruzyně Airport, it handled just under 251,000 passengers in the first quarter, which is 90 percent less year-on-year. The crisis also changed the workload of individual destinations, the most popular being Dubai.
The coronavirus crisis in the Czech Republic erupted in full force last March. The year-on-year decline of 90% in the first quarter is thus largely still in comparison with the pre-crisis situation. The crisis has significantly changed the workload of individual destinations.
While last year passengers from Prague most often went to London or Moscow, now the most popular destination was Dubai. This was followed by Amsterdam and Egypt’s Hurghada. The airport handled a total of 6,943 flights during the quarter of this year.
In the coming weeks, the situation should gradually improve slightly, with some carriers planning to resume connections.
Currently, there are regular flights of about 20 carriers to more than 30 destinations at the airport. There are connections to important European cities such as Amsterdam, Paris or Frankfurt, which act as key transfer points. There are also direct flights to, for example, Egypt, the Canary Islands or Malaga, Spain, Madeira and Lisbon.
Flights to Dubai or Doha continue from long-haul flights. From April, there are also up to six new flights a week from Turkish Airlines to Istanbul. A completely new route to Bucharest is planned to be launched by Blue Air, another novelty will also be the AnadoluJet route to Antalya from May.
At the same time, the Czechs often used Dubai as a transfer destination, for example to the Maldives. Data from the local Ministry of Tourism showed that Czechia in the first quarter it was among the ten countries, of which Maldives most tourists come. In the first two months, more than 4,600 Czechs visited this island nation in the Indian Ocean; last year, a total of 3,540 people visited January and February.
In the coming weeks and months, the airport expects a gradual resumption of connections to other summer destinations, including Croatia, Greece and Malta. “We are in contact with airlines and other routes around Europe could resume depending on the development of the situation. If some conditions begin to relax and simplify, airlines are responding to increased demand very quickly,” explained Prague Airport spokeswoman Kateřina Pavlíková.
Passenger demand is key for carriers. According to the spokesperson, the airport is ready to strengthen traffic.
The decline in air traffic was also reflected in air traffic in domestic airspace. In the first quarter of this year, flight dispatchers recorded 44,120 flights in the Czech sky, which is 74 percent less than in the pre-crisis development in 2019.
The pandemic restricted aviation for most of last year. Václav Havel Prague Airport handled 3.66 million passengers last year, which was a year-on-year drop of 79 percent. At the same time, it was the lowest number of passengers in the last 25 years.