Assuming that the intended goal is to grow a small airport into a financially sustainable operation (aka it is not forever subsidized by the government), what are some of the case studies/best practices from around the world for doing so?
More specifically, multi-year efforts to do so have been seen in the Czech Republic where the capital airport (Prague, PRG) is growing at close to 20% YoY yet the two main regional airports (Brno, BRQ and Ostrava, OSR) are trying to stay above water and are largely dependent on their respective region's financial support. Since PRG is decidedly the key international hub in the country and reachable from Brno and Ostrava in about 4 hours, how great is the potential of these two smaller airports to succeed in a thriving economy? For businessmen working in either of the two smaller cities, existing connectivity is not optimal, especially for one-day trips, and for foreign firms, this may be a disincentive to consider otherwise thriving and affordable regions for investment.
I suppose the best-case scenario would be to have regular flights in the morning and evening to/from one or more of the following: MUC, FRA, WAV, AMS/CDG, ZRH and (ultimately) LHR from at least one of the two airports (aside from more leisurely seasonal traffic to southern and other destinations). Can this ever be achieved?
Are there things the government/airport operators can do on their own to make the respective regional airports work? Or is this purely a question of regional economic performance and proximity of existing alternatives that determine success of a small airport like the two ones in question?
BRQ serves a region of about 1-1.5 million and the second-largest Czech city (400,000) with growing biotech, computing and manufacturing sectors. It's also a university town and relatively popular with tourists. VIE is about 100 miles away and accessible by bus or train (in around 3 hours). BMI regional flies to MUC 1-2x daily, Ryanair 6x weekly to STN and Wizzair 3x weekly to LTN. 2016 traffic was about 210,000 PX on regular and 210,000 PX on charter flights. Also 4,100t of cargo. BRQ is about 25 minutes away from downtown Brno.
OSR serves a region of about 1 million and the third-largest Czech city (300,000) with car manufacturing, heavy industry and energy companies. Also a university city with a markedly improving quality of life, but a limited tourist appeal. Nearest airports are KTW (1.5 hours away by car), KRK (2 hours away, but much less convenient) and VIE (4 hours by train/car/bus). CSA flies 3x daily to PRG, Ryanair 4x weekly to STN and 2x weekly to BGY (Bergamo). 2016 traffic was 191,000 PX on regular flights and 47,000 PX on charter flights. Also 4,100t of cargo. OSR is about 30 minutes away from downtown Ostrava.
according to goggle maps Brno Airport to Prague Airport is a little over 2 hours drive.
At certain busy times of the year, fares into PRG must be high.
Perhaps try to get an airline to fly to BRQ & combine fares with car rental, after establishing a 2nd tier car hire operation.
From experience, know that in new Zealand, many people drive up to 6 hours from CHC to ZQN & New Zealand has many cheap 2nd tier car hire companies. New Zealand seems to basically allow unrestricted used cars to come in from Japan & they make up most of the fleets of 2nd tier hire car companies. 2 hours drive does not seem that much to me, especially if cheaper than flying into PRG, once take into account cost of car hire.