Czech Airlines has ordered four Airbus A220-300 aircraft and opted for additional range by upsizing a previous order for three A320neo to A321XLR.
The two fuel-efficient aircraft types will complement Czech Airlines’ existing fleet of six A319 and one A330-300, and allow it to continue extending its network to reach more markets. The airline will also benefit from the commonality of Airbus Family aircraft. The A220-300 will be fitted with 149 seats, while the A321XLR will cater for top comfort in a two-class layout with 195 seats.
The A321XLR is the next evolutionary step from the A321LR which responds to market needs for even more range and payload, creating more value for the airlines. From 2023, it will deliver an unprecedented Xtra Long Range of up to 4,700nm – with 30 percent lower fuel burn per seat compared with previous generation competitor aircraft. To date, the A320neo Family has captured more than 6,650 orders from nearly 110 customers.
Czech Airlines-CSA (Prague) is once again expanding. The airline is planning to add up to 19 new destinations for the upcoming summer season. The airline continued with this announcement:
In addition to the new flights from Prague to Billund, Bilbao, Bologna, Cork and Oslo announced last fall, Czech Airlines is also planning to operate flights to Athens, Bordeaux, Liverpool, Porto and Stavanger, and to launch regular connections to Venice, Kristiansand, Växjö, Linköping, Poznan, Gdansk, Stuttgart and several additional routes from Stuttgart to the southwest of Europe.
“Expanding our transport network will allow us to use the fleet more efficiently, primarily our ATR aircraft which will be used to service more than half of the new routes,” explained Jozef Sinčák, Chairman of the Czech Airlines Board of Directors, adding:
“Concurrently, we have been relocating the capacity freed in the Russian market which has been experiencing a significant drop in demand for travel to the Czech Republic and Europe.”
For this reason, the carrier has also reconsidered its planned launch of operations on two new routes to Russia, to Kazan and Kaliningrad, originally planned for this summer season. The launch, together with renewal of the seasonal flights to Perm and Ufa, was postponed by Czech Airlines until the 2016 summer season.
Czech Airlines plans to use its Airbus A319 aircraft to fly the following, year-round-operated routes: Liverpool (twice weekly from May 18) and Oslo (up to four times a week from March 30), while Billund (four times a week from March 30), Bologna (four times a week from March 29), Poznan, Gdansk (both four times a week from May 25) and Stuttgart (three times a week from May 26) will be serviced by ATR aircraft.
The carrier will also operate the following seasonal routes:
Flights to Bilbao (twice weekly from June 1), Bordeaux (twice weekly from June 4), Cork (twice weekly from May 14) and Porto (twice weekly from May 18) will only be offered in the summer season and operated by Airbus A319 aircraft, as are flights to Athens (up to four times a week from May 3) and Stavanger (twice weekly from May 21).
Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-112 OK-NEN (msn 3436) taxies to the gate at Frankfurt.
Czech Airlines-CSA (Prague) has announced it will add seven destinations for the 2015 summer season.
In stages, Czech Airlines will launch operations on its regular scheduled connections to Oslo (OSL), Billund (BLL), Cork (ORK), Bilbao (BIO) and Bologna (BLQ). The carrier also plans to launch two new connections with Russia – flying to Kaliningrad (KGD) and Kazan (KZN). Additionally, Czech Airlines will launch a connection between Billund and Oslo, and Copenhagen and Stockholm.
The airline continued;
“After a year of cutbacks, we plan to expand the existing Czech Airlines’ network starting the 2015 summer season. We feel that there is a significant business potential in our new destinations which we would like to use fully. At the same time, we would like to capitalize on Czech Airlines great reputation in the Russian market and, effective April 2015, service a total of nine destinations in Russia,” said Jozef Sinčák, Chairman of Czech Airlines Board of Directors, and added: “We have set the new destinations timetables in a way to best use the market potential and at the same time appeal to both local and transfer passengers as the connections were designed with the customers’ priorities in mind. We will operate all new destinations using the existing free capacity of Czech Airlines and thus improve the fleet use.”
New Czech Airlines’ Routes in North Europe
Czech Airlines will launch operations on its Prague – Oslo route on March 30, 2015. At the beginning of the summer season, the carrier will service the route twice weekly. Effective May 30, 2015, two more return connections will be added on this route, which will then be operated with four weekly frequencies until the end of the summer season. Czech Airlines will use Airbus A319 aircraft exclusively to service the route. The new Oslo service was designed for local – i.e. point-to-point passengers from the Czech Republic and Norway and also for transfer passengers travelling from Norway to Mediterranean cities – destinations offered by Czech Airlines for the second year during the summer season on a code-share basis with Travel Service. For now, Czech Airlines plans to operate the Oslo connection on a seasonal basis.
New Czech Airlines’ flights to Billund, Denmark are scheduled to first take off on March 29, 2015. The route will be operated by the carrier four times a week, year round, by ATR 42 aircraft with the option of using a larger ATR 72 aircraft if necessary. Business travellers and tourists from both countries – i.e. the Czech Republic and Denmark, form the target group of this new flight.
On work days, i.e. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, these Czech Airlines’ flights will continue from Billund to Oslo. The carrier wants to apply its successful model of the Prague – Bratislava – Košice and Prague – Hamburg – Gothenburg routes.
Czech Airlines’ News in West and South Europe
A new Cork connection will be serviced from May 14, 2015 until the end of the summer season with two return flights a week. The timetable was tailored to the priorities of the main target group, i.e. tourists from the South-West part of Ireland travelling to Prague for a long weekend, complemented by Czech tourists headed to explore the South of Ireland.
Czech Airlines will service its new connection to Bilbao during the main operational season, i.e. between June 1 and September 30, 2015, offering two return frequencies a week. The Bilbao connection, just as the other new connections, was designed predominantly for tourists. Czech Airlines will service both the Cork and the Bilbao route by Airbus A319 aircraft. Both connections will be operated on a seasonal basis, i.e. with services break during the winter seasons.
Czech Airlines will be returning to the Prague – Bologna route after a four-year pause. The carrier will operate it year round four times a week with ATR 72 aircraft from March 29, 2015. This connection was designed for business travellers and tourists alike.
Czech Airlines’ Plans in Russian Market during 2015 Summer Season
Despite this year’s year-on-year drop in passenger demand for travels between Russia and the Czech Republic, Russian market has been of great significance for Czech Airlines with high potential for further development thanks to the option of launching operations to new destinations located there. That is why Czech Airlines plans to launch two new connections within the market at the beginning of the 2015 summer season – to Kaliningrad and to Kazan.
Connections between Prague and Kazan will be operated by Czech Airlines twice weekly, using Airbus A319 aircraft. The timetable for the new Prague – Kaliningrad route is designed in the same way as the Prague – Kazan connection, using the same attractive combination of weekdays of operations for weekend and mid-week stays in Prague. Czech Airlines will operate the service using ATR 72 turbo propeller aircraft. Both connections will be operated year round.
Effective 2015 summer season, Czech Airlines will service a total of nine destinations and operate eleven regular scheduled connections between the Czech Republic and Russia. Alongside the mentioned Kazan and Kaliningrad services, there will be Czech Airlines’ services from Prague to Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Samara, Rostov upon Done, Ufa and Perm, alongside two connections from Karlovy Vary to Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Copyright Photo: Karl Cornil/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-112 OK-OER (msn 3892) with the special Instaforex markings departs from Brussels.
Czech Airlines management engaged in intensive negotiations with all company shareholders regarding their potential investments in the company immediately after the Czech Airlines shareholders unanimously approved a Czech Airlines restructuring plan at the beginning of September.
There has been a significant shift in negotiations with Korean Air. Czech Airlines management has received a letter from Korean Air confirming the company’s decision to become financially involved in the Czech Airlines stabilization process and a proposal of its capital contribution to Czech Airlines.
Czech Airlines management has been reviewing Korean Air’s proposal thoroughly and will present it to Czech Aeroholding management at the earliest date possible. Czech Aeroholding has promised to review Korean Air’s proposal and is also ready to provide Czech Airlines with a capital contribution in the capacity of a private investor.
Czech Airlines appreciates the decision made by Korean Air and views it as a demonstration of strong support by a private shareholder and a positive signal regarding Czech Airlines’ future. Czech Airlines management is convinced that this important move will help stabilize Czech Airlines in the immediate future.
Korean Air has conditioned its capital contribution to Czech Airlines by implicit execution of all measures outlined in the company’s restructuring plan. Czech Airlines management will negotiate additional strategic investments in Czech Airlines with all shareholders upon completion of the entry of Travel Service into Czech Airlines.
Copyright Photo: Rolf Wallner/AirlinersGallery.com. Czech Airlines’ ATR 72-212A (ATR 72-500) F-GRPK (msn 727) with the special 90 Years – 1923-2013 emblem blocks at the gate.
Czech Airlines-CSA (Prague) has been forced to lay off 280 staff members, a third of its workforce, including 70 pilots due to slumping traffic. The company is restructuring to meet the current conditions. As part of this restructuring, the company is grounding or leasing out its six Airbus A320s as it attempts to reduce its fleet according to Reuters. Tragically the airline has put its emphasis on serving destinations in eastern Europe. The current on-going conflict in the eastern Ukraine has translated to a drop in traffic.
The holding company of the flag carrier issued this statement:
The new Czech Aeroholding management reviewed in detail the economic results of all companies incorporated in the Czech Aeroholding Group, including Czech Airlines, upon its appointment at the turn of June and July 2014. The second largest shareholder, Korean Air, was then informed about the situation in Czech Airlines, too. Together, they agreed to draft a restructuring plan with the goal of keeping the current revenue upon decreased costs. This plan was unanimously approved by all shareholders in a General Meeting at the beginning of September. Several restructuring measures, predominantly in the revenue area such as a new one-way tickets concept, flight schedule changes and changes to the company’s transport network (including those in the Russian market), have already brought first results. For the first time in several years, Czech Airlines will record a net operational profit for the entire summer season. Concurrent with the restructuring plan, negotiations among all shareholder regarding investments into Czech Airlines are currently in progress. Upon their closing, Czech Aeroholding and all shareholders will inform the general public of their future steps in regards to Czech Airlines.
Copyright Photo: OSDU/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 OK-MEI (msn 3060) in the special “Prague Love You – Prague Airport” arrives at Moscow (Sheremetyevo) from Prague.
Air Croatia (Zagreb) will launch weekly operations on June 14 between Gothenburg and Zagreb and also between Gothenburg and Split. Czech Airlines will wet lease an Airbus A319 to the new carrier for both routes.
Czech Airlines-CSA (Prague) and partner Korean Air (Seoul) have announced Korean Air has exercised its option and brought in another equity partner. Travel Service Airlines (Prague) is acquiring a 34 percent share in Czech Airlines. Korean Air retains its 44 percent share.
The airlines issued this statement:
Czech Aeroholding has been informed by Korean Air about its requirement to use option to exercise its right to purchase further 34% of Czech Airline stock from Czech Aeroholding. This step is in accordance with the purchase contract on the sale of 44% of Czech Airline stock signed by Korean Air and Czech Aeroholding in April this year. Korean Air will subsequently sell 34% stake to Travel Service, an air carrier, which will thus become a co-shareholder of Czech Airlines thus joining Korean Air which holds 44% of shares, Czech Aeroholding with the final share of 19.74% and Ceska Pojistovna which will continue to hold its 2.26% share in Czech Airlines.
Korean Air explains the decision to exercise its option on further 34% of the Czech Airlines shares which is to be subsequently sold to Travel Service by its plan to reinforce its operations in Europe. Working together with Travel Service, the company wishes to make Vaclav Havel Airport Prague its European hub. The entry of Travel Service into Czech Airlines will provide Korean Air with connections to approximately 40 new destinations in Europe to which their passengers will be able to fly after their transfer at Vaclav Havel Airport Prague.
As early as in spring of this year, Korean Air purchased 44% of Czech Airlines shares from Czech Aeroholding which it will continue to hold. Now it wishes to use the Czech Airlines platform to collaborate with Travel Service. With regard to the fact that Travel Service, the new shareholder, is a Czech air carrier, Czech Airlines will not lose the status of the so called national carrier.
“We regard the development of Vaclav Havel Airport Prague aiming to make it a Central-European hub as absolutely crucial. The fact that Korean Air is bringing another key partner into Czech Airlines represents a step toward fulfilling this aim. I am convinced this partnership will be advantageous particularly for passengers who, in future, will be able to choose from a more quality product – a wide network of destinations – provided by the three carriers,” said Miroslav Dvorak, chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of Czech Aeroholding.
In spite of the fact that the contractual documentation might be signed as promptly as possible, it will surely include suspensory conditions. This is because the entire transaction is first subject to approval by the competent antitrust authorities, which may take several months before it can take effect.
In the context of changes of the Czech Airlines shareholder structure, Philippe Moreels, the current President and Chairman of the Board, announced its intention to resign from both positions. “I welcome the entry of Travel Service into Czech Airlines and also perceive it as the culmination of the company’s intensive four year restructuring period. In this new phase, Czech Airlines is going to need some new blood and a change in its management style. Therefore, it is logical that all the shareholders will agree on a new company president after the transaction has been completed. Until then, I will continue to be available and will be working on all the steps necessary allowing the transaction to bring a synergy effect to allthe partners as soon as possible,” said Philippe Moreels about his intention to resign from both his positions after the transaction has been approved by antitrust authorities.
After the transaction has been approved by antitrust authorities, the Czech Airlines statutory bodies will continue to consist of three members and their composition will reflect the new shareholder structure of the company.
Top Copyright Photo: Karl Cornil/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-112 OK-NEM (msn 3406) of Czech Airlines arrives in Amsterdam with the special 90 Years (1923-2013) logo.
Travel Service Airlines:
Bottom Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. Travel Service Airlines’ (Czech Republic) Boeing 737-8CX OK-TVB (msn 32362) prepares to land in Nantes, France.
Czech Airlines-CSA (Prague) will place its newly-acquired Airbus A330-300 into revenue service tomorrow (June 1) from Prague to Seoul (Incheon). The airliner was delivered on may 14 and is leased from its new partner Korean Airlines (Seoul).
Copyright Photos: Czech Airlines. Airbus A330-323X OK-YBA (msn 425) is now wearing this new 90 Years 1923-2013 logo.
Video (in Czech): OK-YBA’s arrival in Prague on May 14.
Czech Airlines-CSA (Prague) has a new savior. Announced last month, Korean Air (Seoul) finalized its 44 percent investment in the flag carrier yesterday (April 11). The Czech government has now been successful in finding a viable airline partner to help the struggling carrier survive the difficult current environment in Europe. Without a new partner, Czech Airlines would have been liquidated by the government.
However Korean Air has publicly stated it is not interested in managing the the Czech carrier. Korean Air is likely to use its new investment as a feeder airline for its Asian flights.