10. 02. 2005 - Czech Airlines showed continuous growth and significant improvement in its on time performance in 2004

Prague, 10 February 2005

In 2004 Czech Airlines registered the biggest growth in its history.  The airline carried a record number of passengers: a total of 4.34 million.  CSA also managed to provide its passengers with a high standard of services, especially as far as flight on time performance is concerned.  CSA was ranked sixth overall among European carriers and improved its position by 14 places when compared to 2003.

CSA’s key operations indicators grew as well: for example, the number of transported passengers rose by more than a fifth.  The number of performed flights and charter flights revenues also grew, as did revenues from cargo and mail transport.  According to the first preliminary non-audited results available, CSA’s profit should be over 250 million CZK.

“Last year, our dynamic growth overtook all airlines in the neighbouring countries, and we stabilized our position in one of the most open markets, our home-base of Prague-Ruzyně airport.  I consider it to be a real success that the total operating revenues of Czech Airlines in 2004 exceeded those specified in the strategic plan by a billion crowns," Jaroslav Tvrdík, CSA President and Chairman of the Board of Directors said regarding the results.

Compared with the planned 18.7 billion CZK, the total operating revenues were 19.7 billion CZK. Transport revenues of Czech Airlines in 2004 were 17.1 billion, which is a growth of 18% in comparison with the previous year. Charter transport revenues showed the highest growth, being 924 million CZK and with a year-on-year increase of over 35%. Cargo and mail revenues showed a year-on-year growth of 15%; CSA customers paid a total of 519 million CZK in 2004 for cargo transport. A total of 22 735 tons of cargo and mail were transported overall. In the area of non-transport activities, CSA significantly exceeded its plans especially in aircraft maintenance, aircraft and passenger handling and catering. The volume of in-flight duty free sales dropped as duty was imposed on most of these articles after the Czech Republic joined the EU.

Despite the significant growth in revenues, CSA did not reach the planned profit of 622 million CZK. The reason for this was the constantly rising price of fuel, CSA spent an additional 900 million CZK on this than originally planned. The high price of fuel is creating problems for most airlines all over the world.

Over the twelve months of 2004 Czech Airlines transported a total of 4.34 million passengers, which represents a growth of 21% when compared to 2003.  For the first time in its history the airline crossed the four-million passenger barrier. No airline from the new EU member countries showed such a number of transported passengers. Over the January-December 2004 period, the average seat load factor was 70.5%.
The number of flights showed the same type of growth rate – the number of flights grew by 21%, which represents a total of 32 699 flights.

CSA Charters significantly expanded its operations in 2004.  Over the January-December 2004 period, the number of passengers on CSA charter flights grew by 35%, reaching 330 000. In 2004, Czech Airlines initiated a completely new phase of its charter operations, with the introduction of a long-haul Airbus A310 aircraft. This allowed CSA to win new customers among travel agencies and to open direct services to new holiday destinations in Latin America and South America.

Ten new CSA destinations in 2004
An increase in the number of destinations flown to with both regular and charter CSA flights had a considerable share in growth in the number of passengers transported by CSA last year. Ten new destinations appeared in the 2004 CSA timetable. CSA added new European Union destinations to its network (Glasgow, Krakow, London-Gatwick, Luxemburg, Marseille), and extended connections to the Russian Federation, where CSA opened flights to Samara and Ekaterinburg. CSA also began flying to Baku in Azerbaijan and the Maldives in the Indian Ocean. At the same time, after the Czech Republic joined the European Union, CSA entered a completely new market. For the first time in its history, CSA offered a flight outside the area of the Czech Republic – by connecting Marseille and Barcelona.

London, Paris, Amsterdam, New York and Moscow are some of the most popular CSA destinations.

Modernization and expansion of the fleet
The year 2004 was also important for the expansion and modernization of the Czech Airlines fleet. Over the last year, the fleet grew by 10 aircraft, the total number of aircraft now being 45.  Out of this number are 4 completely new ATR 42-500’s and additional Boeing 737-500/400’s and Airbus A310’s. The fleet expansion and modernization pushed the growth of the company in 2004 and CSA could thus begin flying to ten new destinations as well as add flights to its already-flown-to destinations. In addition to expanding its number of aircraft in 2004, CSA also decided to acquire new-generation medium-haul Airbus A320 airplanes in a tender. The airplanes will arrive at CSA in 2006-2008.

Improvement of on time performance position
Over the January-December 2004 period, Czech Airlines held, on average, the 6th position in the Association of European Airlines (AEA) regular ranking.  When compared with the year 2003, Czech Airlines improved by 14 positions. CSA’s strategic objective for the year was, in fact, 7th position, so the company exceeded even this indicator – especially thanks to the high professionalism of its employees. In 2004, Czech Airlines showed better on time performance than airlines such as Brussels Airlines, Finnair or SAS. The AEA currently has 31 members.

Since the very beginning of 2004, Czech Airlines has received several important awards. In May 2004, the airline won the OAG (Official Airline Guide, London) Award as “Best Airline Based in Central/Eastern Europe”. In January 2005, the readers of the prestigious American magazine Global Traveler selected Czech Airlines as “The Best Airline in Eastern Europe”, appreciating especially the perfect in-flight passenger care and attention CSA pays to the type of passengers termed “ethnic clients”. The Annual Report for 2003 was also appreciated in the regular ranking of the Czech Top 100 agency. The report was ranked no. 1 in the “Commerce and Services” category and no. 4 in the country-wide ranking.

Jitka Novotná,
CSA Spokesperson