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Traffic down but hopes up at Poprad Airport

Poprad Airport served three percent fewer passengers in the first half of this year. Juraj Rokfalusy, the head of sales and operations for Letisko Poprad-Tatry, told SITA that the main reason for the decline was a drop in charter flights because of a weaker winter sports season and the introduction of the Schengen visas, which discouraged visitors from Russia and Ukraine.

Poprad Airport served three percent fewer passengers in the first half of this year. Juraj Rokfalusy, the head of sales and operations for Letisko Poprad-Tatry, told SITA that the main reason for the decline was a drop in charter flights because of a weaker winter sports season and the introduction of the Schengen visas, which discouraged visitors from Russia and Ukraine.

But overall, the outlook for the airport is better. For the whole of 2008, the third largest airport in Slovakia expects to serve 66,000-70,000 passengers or ten percent more than last year. Growth of scheduled flights mainly by low-cost airline SkyEurope on flights to London has increased the number of passengers on regularly scheduled flights.

Beginning at the end of July, the airport will add charter flights to the Bulgarian Black Sea port of Burgas.

The airport has several major structural projects in the works. The biggest involves enlargement of the arrivals terminal. The airport acquired money for this project from the European Union structural funds and from the state budget, the SITA wrote. Additional funds will go to modernize the airport's approach lights system. The airport is also planning to build a new parking lot.

In ensuing years, the airport plans a general reconstruction of its runway originally built in 1970. The reconstructed runway would enable flights by larger aircraft. The airport intends to apply for funding for this project though the European Union.

The Poprad airport ended last year with a taxed profit of Sk4.5 million (€149,400).

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