Český Aeroholding is analysing its options for the best possible utilisation of its Václav Havel Prague Airport buildings. The property getting the lion’s share of attention is the oval-shaped “APC building”, built by Czech Airlines [ČSA] at the beginning of the millennium as its headquarters.
ČSA sold the building in 2009 because the national air carrier was struggling to avoid going bust. It received CZK 600m from Český Aeroholding, the company that manages the airport, in return for the property. After years of leasing the address, ČSA moved out completely this year, leaving APC half-empty.
Český Aeroholding is mulling two alternatives: one is to move all of its employees into the APC building and vacate a number of other properties, while the other option is to move everyone out and vacate APC. Should the latter option be chosen, the airport administrator’s management would consider converting the property into a hotel. Accommodation has been in short supply at the airport, especially during times when airlines have needed to put up passengers stranded by a delayed or cancelled flight.
“If it were down to my personal preference, I’d say that a hotel is sorely needed here. And if a major hospitality chain were prepared to take it on as a long-term investment then I am sure we should treat this option with all seriousness,” said Václav Řehoř, chairman of the board of Český Aeroholding and the airport’s director. Řehoř added that a decision should be reached within months. He has himself already moved out of APC and now spends most of his time in a Terminal 1 office overlooking the runway.
Český Aeroholding is currently fine-tuning its “Airport City” strategy. This is meant to generate commercial revenue from the company’s unused land. The relevant document remains classified, but Řehoř claims that any development will not involve offices and shopping malls. “That is definitely a direction we are not following in our deliberations,” Řehoř said.