CSA Czech Airlines, the semi-dormant flag carrier of the Czech Republic, has reaffirmed its intention to grow its fleet and launch a network of destinations once again.
The airline currently has a fleet of just two active aircraft, according to our data from ch-aviation. These are a single Airbus A319-100, registered OK-REQ, and a single Airbus A320-200, registered OK-HEU.
The A319 is currently flying every day, both for CSA Czech Airlines and for CSA’s minority owner, Smartwings. Yesterday, Monday 10th October, it operated two rotations:
- First, for Czech Airlines, under flight numbers OK760 and OK761, it flew from Prague (PRG) to Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) and back.
- Then, for Smartwings, under flight numbers QS1152 and QS1153, it flew from PRG to Malaga (AGP) and back.
The A320 also flies for both. Yesterday, it operated a rotation from PRG to Hurghada (HRG) for CSA, and the day before it flew for Smartwings to Antalya (AYT) and back.
Paris, served mostly by the A319, and Hurghada, served by the A320, are CSA’s only routes at the moment. CDG is served four times weekly, and Hurghada thrice weekly. During the winter, the airline will only fly to CDG.
Smartwings is now a minority owner of CSA. Photo: Getty Images
The reorganization has finished successfully
Plagued by covid-related travel restrictions and a lack of state aid, CSA notified the Czech Republic’s Employment Office in February 2021 that it intended to lay off its entire workforce of 430 staff. The airline underwent business restructuring that lasted until June 2022.
Up until a few months ago, it had seemed almost certain that CSA would never fly again. However, thanks to an investor, things are now looking up.
A brand new company, Prague City Air, which is backed by two Smartwings shareholders, now owns 70% of CSA Czech Airlines. Smartwings remains the owner of the other 30%. CSA celebrated its 99th birthday earlier last week, and it is now looking certain that it will make it to 100.
The plan is for the airline to have some seven aircraft in the medium future with which it would operate a network of destinations from Prague.
In the short term, it intends to lease two Airbus A320s in 2023, in time for the summer season. At the same time, if it can find a buyer at the price it is seeking, CSA will also sell its A319, potentially even for its spare parts.
Then, a year later, in 2024, it is hoping to add four Airbus A220-300 aircraft to its fleet. These will likely be acquired on a long-term basis under a dry-lease agreement.
As part of its business reorganization proceedings last year, CSA canceled its order for three Airbus A321XLR and four A220-300 aircraft. As Simple Flying wrote at the time, this prompted Airbus to seek financial compensation of almost $1 billion. The A220s should have been delivered at the end of 2020 already.
What do you think of CSA Czech Airlines coming back to life and growing its fleet with four A220-300 and two A320 aircraft? Let us know what you think of this story in the comments below.