Henri Coandă International Airport between dream and reality
As an online aviation and travel publication, we follow with great interest all that pertains to these fields. And aviation does not just mean airplanes and flights, but also airports. Today we are talking about Henri Coanda International Airport.
AirlinesTravel.ro appeared online in January 2012, officially 25 March 2012. It has been well over 6 years since we are keeping an eye on everything that flies in the Romanian airspace, but also abroad. But aviation does not just mean airplanes and flights, but also airports.
I have written hundreds of articles about airports in Romania and from abroad, about their evolution and all the modernization programs. I was at the inauguration of the new terminal at Henri Coandă International Airport, but also to the inauguration of the new runway from Iasi International Airport. I didn't miss either cutting the ribbon at T3 of Iasi airport.
During all this time I have witnessed many statements made by the authorities, some realistic, sustainable, others truly SF, even for the most optimistic people.
The dream of Henri Coandă International Airport
Last day, the Romanian Government promised a plan to modernize the Henri Coandă International Airport worth 1 billion. On 29 August, the Government approved the technical-economic indicators for the strategic program of infrastructure development at the Henri Coandă - Bucharest International Airport, which provides for the construction of a new passenger terminal.
In addition to the new terminal, the plan also includes the following: new toll roads and parking platforms for aircraft and their associated airport infrastructure. Following that in the east area of the airport will be developed the new infrastructure for access to the airport, but also other infrastructures adjacent to the airport activity.
All these upgrades could make Henri Coandă International Airport a reactive hub. Over 40 millions of passengers could cross the threshold. The new terminal could be equipped with 25 boarding gates. The plan also includes an aircraft parking platform with 56 seats. But also with parking over 9000 places. As a deadline, everything could be ready by 2028.
On paper, the plan sounds good. And financially it can be sustainable when the Henri Coandă International Airport has reported operating profit increasing by 19% compared to the same period of year 2017. In turn, gross profit (EBITDA) increased by 21,4% compared to 2017, an indicator that reflects a considerable improvement in the company's profitability. The problem is that all the profit was taken with the Government by japca. And then we wake up to reality. With what money can all these promises be made?
The reality of Henri Coandă International Airport
In reality, the situation is quite different, much more gloomy. About the above mentioned plan is discussed from 1999, and in 2018 only the technical-economic indicators for the strategic development program have been established. Currently, Henri Coandă International Airport is choked during peak hours, and queues at check-in desks are endless. Record passenger traffic is estimated at 2018, estimated at 14 million.
At Henri Coandă Bucharest International Airport, 49 is currently operating airlines, which transport passengers to 110 destinations. Following this autumn, new domestic and international destinations will be added. During the first semester, 57,797 thousands of aircraft movements (landings and take-offs) were recorded. And at peak hours, some aircraft are ready for flight even on the treadmill.
Even sadder is the fact that Henri Coandă International Airport is poorly connected by Bucharest, with only 2 express lines from RATB: 783 and 780. There is no train, no subway. And many passengers complain about this, being forced to call taxi drivers (with tariffs between 1.39 lei and 3.5 lei per kilometer). There are cases when the fare charged by some taxi drivers is well above the one mentioned on the door.
What to do Henri Coanda International Airport
And up to these modernization works, how about the current infrastructure, which is quite shabby? Runways need to be rehabilitated, aircraft parking platforms, treads, parking lots, all of which must be maintained and upgraded.
I do not want to be skeptical, but I do not think that this grand plan of modernization will be realized, not in the next 10 years. Imagine that they were not able to build a subway line, which will be put into operation in 2020, once the European Football Championship is organized. They were not able to build a railway line and a station near the Henri Coandă International Airport. How much credibility can an estimated megalomaniac project for completion in the next 10 years?
We don't want to upset anyone. But in a country where the terms of execution are only on paper, what credibility of execution can have such a project, under the conditions in which the situation is sad and in the real economy of Romania. What do you think? Will the new modernization project of Henri Coandă International Airport be completed?