Plans to expand Vodochody Airport progress after the Ministry of The Environment (MoE) gives a thumbs up. Like many projects, the airport’s development has to work through a myriad of regulations to earn approval. If Vodochody Airport passes all of the requirements, Prague will have more travel options.

Receiving a positive environmental impact assessment on the expansion from the MoE was critical to moving the project forward. The enlarged airport will increase options for low-cost travel.

Vodochody Airport Source: Letiště Vodochody
Vodochody Airport
Source: Letiště Vodochody

If plans proceed without any major obstacles, the expansion will be completed within seven years, Ivo Mravinac, Penta spokeswoman told CTK. Penta is the investment group responsible for the project.

“We are still in the first half of the endless marathon because we have a major EIA, but the land and planning permission,” said Mravinac.

As Mravinac acknowledges, there could still be several obstacles facing the project. The villages surrounding the airport have filed complaints, worrying that an expanded facility will increase noise disturbances and pollution, such as deteriorating water quality. These are legitimate concerns, and regulating airports is a complicated issue. Airports are a necessity in modern life, but in a world where we are trying to improve environmental standards, expansion is difficult.

Vodochody Airport Source: AGA-Letiště
Vodochody Airport
Source: AGA-Letiště

There were 40 complaints filed within a year of the project’s 2013 announcement. The project originally received a positive report by the MoE in 2013. Along with the approval, the ministry added over 120 provisions that the project must meet. However, due to the number of complaints, in 2014, the project was put into question. In 2015, new environmental standards were enacted, furthering the project’s uncertainty.

This latest endorsement by the MoE confirms that the project meets the original, 2013 obligations, as well as the new regulations from 2015. If the project continues to make headway, air travel in and out of Prague could become cheaper and more accessible. The airport is about a 30-minute drive from Prague’s city center.