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Czech Airlines to Operate Scenic Flights over Prague to Celebrate 97th Anniversary

A Czech Airlines A319 landing at London Heathrow. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

Czech Airlines, the flag carrier of the Czech Republic, is planning to operate a number of scenic joy flights over Prague’s most popular tourist attractions and interesting places. The flights will be operated with the airline’s 70-seat ATR 72 regional aircraft at an altitude of approximately 2600 feet above the ground.

The airline assigned OK97 as the flight number to symbolize the 97th anniversary of the company’s foundation and launch of operations. The round trips will take depart from and arrive back at Vaclav Havel International Airport Prague on July 11 and 12. The airline is looking to operate more scenic flights depending on the interest in its round-trip flights. Czech Airlines celebrated its 95th anniversary with similar special round trips two years ago.

According to the airline, sightseeing flights will be piloted by the company’s ss most experienced captains. For maximum experience, the aircraft will fly below the lower limit of controlled airspace.

Czech Airlines Ends Long-Haul Flights, Parent Company Announces Mass Layoffs

Czech Airlines removed its single Airbus A330 aircraft, registered OK-YBA, from its fleet, closing a stage of its history as it has lost the only long-haul aircraft in its fleet. After seven years in service, the aircraft flew to Malta on July 5, from where it will be returned to its owner — Korean Air — after maintenance and inspection. Among other short- and medium-haul flights, the aircraft was deployed on Czech Airlines’s flight service to Seoul, the airline’s only scheduled long-haul destination.

OK-YBA enabled the airline to initiate codeshare agreements with Korean Air in operating long-haul flights from Prague via Seoul to East Asia, making Prague more accessible to millions of passengers from East Asia and the Pacific.

However, the airline was forced to suspend the Seoul flights indefinitely in February due to flight restrictions and the unprecedented slump in demand for air travel with the advent of novel coronavirus pandemic.

“Given that South Korea has been hit by the second wave of the coronavirus epidemic, the resumption of traffic between the Czech Republic and Korea is not in sight,” a spokesperson for the Smartwings Group, the parent company of Czech Airlines, said in a statement.

Czech Airlines resumed operations on May 18 with flights to Amsterdam, Paris and Frankfurt after more than two months of interruption. The airline, together with its parent company, gradually ramped up its flight schedules, resuming flights to 25 additional destinations in Europe in July.

However, Smartwings Group announced last week that it would impose collective redundancies due to the unfavorable situation in the aviation industry caused by the ongoing pandemic. The reduction in the number of employees will affect up to 600 employees.

The jobs affected will include pilots, flight attendants and members of the operational and administrative non-aviation business department. According to local reports, the airline laid off 29 pilots last week and intends to let 92 pilots, 114 cabin crew and 107 ground staff go in the days ahead.

“We are facing the most difficult period of our entire existence. To save the company, we must apply painful but inevitable measures. The air transport industry is facing the biggest crisis in the history of aviation and it is our duty to make every effort to keep the Smartwings Group on the market and ensure it can provide employment and prospects to as many of our employees as possible,” said Jiri Simane, chairman of the Smartwings board of directors.

The termination of employment of redundant employees within the framework of collective redundancies should take place gradually from this month to February 2021.

The airline was planning to expand its fleet and network in the pre-pandemic period. The pandemic and its natural consequences seriously crippled the airline’s plans, forcing it to shrink its fleet and impose mass layoffs.

Bulent Imat

Author

  • Bulent Imat

    Bulent is an aviation journalist, content creator and traveller. He lives in Germany and has experienced travelling with almost all flag carrier airlines and low-cost airlines based in Europe and the Middle East to observe the standards of different airline companies and airports. He has extensive knowledge in web design and content creation.

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