Czech Airlines will add A330s to its fleet to explore potential new routes to Russia, as well as niche markets in Asia targeting especially China and Japan, Routes News can reveal.
The carrier will take delivery of its first A330 at the end of May to begin serving Seoul from the summer with a twice weekly service, thus increasing current operation up to 6 weekly frequencies together with Korean Air, but this is not the end of Czech’s long-haul expansion plan, according to Executive Director, Christophe Viatte.
“We are already working on a plan with our SkyTeam partner Korean Air. We will fly to Seoul but we are also looking at additional niche markets in Asia, as well as connecting traffic to Japan and Pacific region via Seoul” he said.
“We are also analyzing more points in Far East Russia and C.I.S. Places such as Astana, Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk or Vladivostok would make sense. After that, definitely we see a big potential for China, Japan and South East Asia either operating on our own or using code share partners”.
“There could be a plan to add more long haul aircrafts, but it will depend on our future partner ambitions as well as Prague Airport development plan. It all depends on the bigger picture, but the plan is for sure to develop more long-haul destinations from Prague in the future.”
The carrier will phase out its five Boeing aircraft by the end of the first quarter of 2013.
Czech will add flights from Prague to Florence, Italy; Munich, Germany; Nice, France; Perm, Russia and Zurich, Switzerland, during the summer 2013 schedule.
Florence and Perm are both new markets for the Czech carrier. It has previously served Munich, Nice and Zurich.
The airline is currently up for sale, with Qatar Airways and Korean Air fighting it out for a stake in Czech Republic flag carrier.
Executive Director for Czech Airlines, Christophe Viatte, said: “We want to reinforce Prague as a small hub between Asia and Europe and Russia.
“We are one of, if not the biggest, airline operating between Europe and Russia, flying already seven destinations (Moscow, St Petersburg, Rostov, Nizhny Novgorod, Ufa, Samara and Yekaterinburg) and increasing to eight from the beginning or Summer schedule with the addition of Perm.
“Our flights to Russia and C.I.S. are the back bone of our network. Other carriers [Qatar and Korean] are very interested and obviously think it is a strong asset to reinforce and develop”.