29.10.2004 - Czech Airlines commemorates its 81st year and its 35th year of operating long-haul jets

Prague, 29 October 2004

On 29th October, Czech Airlines, the carrier with the longest history in Central Europe, commemorates its 81st anniversary of regular operations.  On 29th October 1923, a Czechoslovak Airlines airplane took off from Prague-Kbely airport on the airline’s very first flight to Bratislava.  Along with this anniversary, Czech Airlines commemorates yet another important milestone in its history.  35 years ago, on 29th October 1969, the first long-haul jet – the Ilyushin 62 was added to the CSA fleet.  The IL62’s allowed for the beginning of CSA inter-continental services – especially to North America and Asia.

In the year of its 81st anniversary, Czech Airlines finds itself in the period of its greatest expansion in history.  In addition to its fleet expansion (ten airplanes over several months), CSA is also showing dynamic growth in transport indicators – in fact, two-digit growth.  Over the first three quarters of the year 2004, the total number of transported passengers grew by 23.4 %, reaching 3.312 million passengers. Similarly, the number of flights has also grown greatly – a year-on-year growth of 19.1%, i.e., more than 24 000 connections.  These increasing indicators are also supported by strong expansion in charter transport, where the number of transported passengers grew by 24% over the first three quarters (a total of 272 000); the number of charter flights showed a year-on-year growth of 18.2 % (1 416 charter flights).

35 years of long-haul jets in CSA colours
On the 29th October 1969, a first long-haul jet – the Ilyushin 62 was added to the CSA fleet.  This four-engine Soviet-made airplane, based on the British Vickers VC-10, with engines located at the rear, meant a radical turning point for CSA’s long-distance services.  Thanks to this airplane, CSA could soon launch non-stop flights to many trans-Atlantic destinations – for example, to New York and Montreal, but also gradually to destinations in Asia – in Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand.  The Ilyushin 62 airplanes (first the classic version; and later on the modernized IL62M version) were used for CSA regular flights for 22 years before they were replaced by Airbus A310-300’s.  Currently, Czech Airlines operates three Airbus A310-300’s and within a few days another will be added to the CSA fleet and thus allow for the extension of CSA’s intercontinental network by a regular route to the Maldives as well as to completely new charter destinations –  e.g., South America and Asia.


Jitka Novotná,
CSA Spokesperson


Technical data - Ilyushin Il-62

Wing span: 43.20 m
Length: 53.12 m
Height: 12.30 m
Maximum take off weight: 165 t
Cruising speed: 860 km/h
Range: 9 000 km
Number of passengers: 144-198
Number of crew members: 3-4
Engines: 4 Solovjev D-30KU’s, thrust 112.8 kN 

Czech Airlines (CSA) – the largest national carrier among the new EU member countries according to number of transported passengers.  Since 2001, it has been a member of SkyTeam, one of the leading global airline alliances.
CSA currently offers connections to 73 destinations in 43 countries worldwide.  The fleet contains 45 aircraft – ATR 42’s/72’s, Boeing 737’s and Airbus A310’s.
This year, CSA plans to carry a record number of passengers, the estimated total for 2004 is 4.4 million.  Over the January – September period itself, the number of CSA passengers showed a year-on-year growth of 23.6%.
In May, the airline won the OAG (Official Airline Guide, London) Award as “Best Airline Based in Central/Eastern Europe”.  The award marked the expansion of Czech Airlines into Europe when the Czech Republic joined the European Union.