After a three-year hiatus, Czech Airlines is again including its own long-haul flights in its flight schedule.
A wide-body Airbus A330 will join the airline’s fleet, enabling Czech Airlines to launch new scheduled service to Seoul, South Korea, and to initiate more intensive code-share cooperation with Korean Air in operating long-haul flights from Prague via Seoul to the East Asia, based on the model of cooperation being successfully employed with Etihad Airways. The new agreement will also ensure better connections to Czech Airlines flights from Prague to Europe for Korean Air’s clients. In addition to Seoul, Czech Airlines will introduce new service to Perm, Nice, Munich, Zurich and Florence in the 2013 summer season.
“We have been analyzing Eastern markets since the beginning of our restructuring, looking for ways to develop in that direction. Developments confirm our belief that the future of the aviation business lies in connections to Asia. A year ago, Czech Airlines opened new service to Abu Dhabi, and agreed with Etihad Airways on the joint operation of long-haul service from Prague via Abu Dhabi to Southeast Asia and Africa, and in the other direction, to the Czech Airlines network,” says Czech Airlines’ President Philippe Moreels in reviewing the situation, adding: “The success of this project has inspired us to expand existing code-share cooperation with our long-time partner Korean Air, and to create a similar model, in this case, linking destinations in the East Asia and the Pacific to Prague and Europe.”
Airbus A330 in the Czech Airlines Fleet
Next June, a long-haul Airbus A330 hired on the basis of operative leasing will join the Czech Airlines fleet. Among other flights, the aircraft will be deployed on Czech Airlines’ new scheduled long-haul service to Seoul. The flights will leave Prague every Saturday and Sunday, and Seoul every Sunday and Tuesday, supplementing the four weekly Korean Air flights. The two airlines will share codes on the route. “Thanks to the mutual harmonization of departure and arrival times, passengers traveling from Prague will have perfect connections to Korean Air flights from Seoul to Japan, China and the Pacific. At the same time, Prague will become more accessible and therefore closer for millions of passengers from East Asia and Pacific, and may become not only an important transfer point but also a gateway to Europe on their trips beyond Prague,” adds Jiří Marek, Czech Airlines’ Vice President for Sale and Marketing. In addition to Seoul, Czech Airlines plans to deploy the Airbus A330 on the most sought-after flights to existing destinations. For example, the airline is considering using the Airbus A330 on certain flights to/from the Commonwealth of Independent States.
New Destinations and More Flights to Western Europe
Seoul is not the only new destination on the Czech Airlines flight schedule in the 2013 summer season. The airline will open regular service to Perm in Russia, as well as Nice, Munich, Zurich, and Florence. To certain destinations, it is introducing a noon flight wave, and increasing the number of flights compared to the 2012 summer season. These destinations include Berlin, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Copenhagen, Milan, Stockholm, and Warsaw. In making a year-on-year comparison, the airline will also offer more weekly flights to Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, and Ufa. Czech Airlines will newly add Brisbane, Singapore, and Nairobi to its flight schedule, which will be operated in cooperation with Etihad Airways. Another innovation in the summer flight schedule is a change in the model of operation to Baltic destinations. Vilnius, Riga, and Tallinn will remain in Czech Airlines’ offer and will be operated by airBaltic on a code-share basis.
Now a Fleet of Just Two Makes
In the 2013 summer season, only Airbus (A330, A320, A319) and ATR (ATR72 and ATR42) aircraft will be deployed on Czech Airlines flights. The airline will have thereby complied with one of its last restructuring tasks – the transition to a fleet of just two aircraft makes. Boeing 737-500 aircraft will be retired from the fleet by the end of the current winter season. “This step can be considered the symbolic completion of the restructuring – a three-year period of cuts. But the airline must be prepared for cuts in the future, too. With the 2013 summer season, at the end of which the airline will celebrate its 90th anniversary, a phase of careful development begins for Czech Airlines,” concludes Philippe Moreels.