On Wednesday, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš announced plans for a major expansion to the Vaclav Havel International Airport. Having welcomed 16.8 million passengers last year, and an expected 17.7 million this year, PRG has reached traveler capacity. In particular, it is Terminal 2 that will see the most change.
Terminal 2 currently serves all flights traveling within the visa-free Schengen zone. Plans include expanding the terminal, adding an additional runway, as well as extending existing train service directly to the airport. The plans have a completion date of 2028 and will run somewhere near the 100 billion Kč mark. With the expansion plans, the hope is the airport could serve upwards of 30 million passengers a year.
One has to wonder if the city is yet ready to take on these kinds of numbers with the inevitable effects on housing prices and national monuments. According to Condé Nast, “few places are immune” from the effects of over tourism. Places like Mallorca and Angkor Wat struggle with growing environmental damage, while cities like Amsterdam are trying to limit the flow of “boorish” city visitors, something Prague can certainly relate to. Amsterdam has already forbid the traffic nightmares called “beer bikes,” and banned new tourist shops from opening in the city centre. With travel cheaper than it has ever been before, and the proposed airport expansion, it will be interesting to see what Prague’s city centre looks like in 2028.