Václav Havel Prague Airport (IATA; PRG) has revealed that it has handled 44 special cargo flights bringing medical supplies since March 20, 2020.
An airport statement, issued on April 22, said that more than 1,200 tons of medical aid had already reached the Czech Republic via PRG. It said total cargo volumes, including that brought be regular cargo routes, has risen by 26.5% year-on-year during this period. The airport has also handled 33 arriving and departing passenger repatriation flights since March 18. More than 3,600 passengers were able to travel via these services; most were Czech citizens returning home to their families and loved ones from abroad, but approximately 900 foreign nationals were also able to travel back home from the Czech Republic on these flights.
Vaclav Rehor, chairman of the Prague Airport board of directors, said: “Since the second half of March, important medical supplies have been brought to the Czech Republic via Václav Havel Airport Prague almost daily, confirming the strategic importance of our airport within the transport infrastructure of the country. The flights with medical supplies on board are primarily handled by employees of Prague Airport and its subsidiaries, alongside other handling companies and additional partner organisations, such as the Czech Fire Rescue Service, the Czech Police, the Army of the Czech Republic and the Administration of the State Material Reserves. It is thanks to their hard work and resilience that healthcare facilities have been receiving the much-needed help for over a month.”
The airport said the Covid-19 crisis had meant that stringent sanitary measures have been applied to both passengers and airport staff who continue to perform their irreplaceable roles in the airport with limited traffic. The measures have gradually been introduced since the end of January and include places where queues usually form, stickers are placed advising people to keep a safe distance. Check-in counters and information desks continue to use protective screens, which form an effective barrier between the passenger and the employee. Every passenger receives a face mask on arrival if they do not have one already. They are also given an information leaflet explaining the mandatory procedures applied to everyone arriving in the Czech Republic from overseas. The airport said arrival gates and other passenger check-in areas are thoroughly disinfected on a regular basis.
Mr Rehor added: “Prague Airport has managed to secure a sufficient amount of protective gear and disinfectant on time. Thus, every employee has access to respirators, face masks, gloves and other protective equipment. There are also more than 250 hand sanitisers located throughout the airport. Employees are consistently and regularly trained in prevention, as well as their family members, for whom we have created and distributed family-friendly leaflets on the prevention of the spread of Covid-19.”
However, the airport’s regular traffic continues to decline and the year-on-year figures for March show a 47.3% drop in aircraft movements. Therefore, to reduce its costs, the airport has started to gradually consolidate its operations. In Terminal 1, all flights are operating from Pier B. In Terminal 2, some areas, including information counters and central security checkpoints, are only open during specific times that are determined by the irregular flight arrivals and departures.