The increase in terminal capacity can take place in stages. It is not possible to extend buildings and then have them half empty.
Prague Airport is mainly re-evaluating investment plans, which it has had in its drawer for many years. The reason is the covid crisis and the related loss of passengers and a loss. Which construction of the parallel runway remains the number one priority, the new terminal is postponed.
“The optimistic assumption is eight years from today. We will now want to extend the EIA opinion, which expires at the end of this year. “ said the head of the airport Jiří Pos when asked by the daily Zdopravy.cz, when the new runway will be ready. He took over the management of the company at the end of August.
If the positive EIA opinion of 2011 (already extended by five years) is not extended a second time, the airport will have to go through the whole process of environmental impact assessment again. According to Pose, this would delay the construction by about three years. Another problem for the airport is the fact that in June 2020 the Regional Court in Prague erased the new runway from the principles of territorial development of the Central Bohemian Region. Prague Airport has filed a cassation complaint with the Supreme Administrative Court, and we are still awaiting the result.
Once the runway is still in the first place in the airport’s plans, the construction of a new terminal is being delayed. According to the plan from the autumn of 2019, they had to officially expand the T2 terminal, where a total of nine new aircraft stands with boarding bridges and gates for short- and medium-haul aircraft were to be added. The Ministry of Finance then approved an investment of 16 billion, of which 9 billion was to be swallowed by the terminal itself and 7 billion was to be invested in other buildings, such as taxiways, a parking garage or a road overpass. According to Pose, these plans will remain in the drawer for now. “The increase in terminal capacity can take place in stages. It is not possible to expand buildings and then have them half empty, “ said Pos.
The plans for Prague Airport were otherwise disrupted by a covid plague. With almost 18 million passengers passing through the airport in 2019 and investments to go from its own resources, the number of passengers has dropped to 3.7 million, and this year it will be similar, according to Pose. Nevertheless, the airport needs at least 8 million passengers for a balanced economy.
Instead of investing from its own resources, the airport now faces a loan from a bank association in the amount of seven billion crowns. According to Pose, the signing will take place in early October, but he still has a loan for the airport “Very beneficial conditions”. “It is not specified what we can use the money for,” added Pos. According to him, money can go to investment and operation if the crisis deepens. The airport had to start drawing the first billion loan at the end of last year. It happened after a long number of years when it was debt free.
The Prague Airport Group ended last year with a loss of 687 million crowns due to a pandemic (this is an EBITDA indicator). In 2019, the state-controlled company earned 4.6 billion crowns. The airport is now working with the option that the number of passengers return to the level of 2019 in 2026.
The daily Zdopravy.cz will bring a great interview with Jiří Pos on Wednesday morning.