9. 3. 2007 - Czech Airlines Receives its First Airbus A319
Prague, March 9, 2007
Czech Airlines (CSA) has just received its first Airbus A319 type aircraft. The plane, which was received by CSA's technicians from its manufacturer in Hamburg, Germany, landed in Prague on Thursday night, painted with CSA's colors. This year, CSA is scheduled to receive a total of two aircraft of this type and another four are scheduled to be delivered by the end of 2008. As with CSA's Airbus A320s, the A319s are being acquired by the airline through a tender for twelve medium-range aircraft, which was announced in October 2004. CSA received its first three planes out of this order last year and it will receive another five in 2007. The last four planes from this order will be delivered by Airbus S.A.S. in 2008.
"This model of aircraft is a newcomer to CSA's fleet. It is a modern airplane, which operates more efficiently, has a greater range and offers greater seating capacity than its predecessors. It will be used primarily for flights within Western and Eastern Europe, where it will be replacing the current Boeing 737-500s. In particular, the new models will be serving the routes where we have seen the greatest increase in passenger demand in recent years," said Jan Janík, CSA's Vice President for Flight Operations, in commenting on the arrival of the new plane.
The new A319 aircraft will be deployed on CSA's most popular routes, which include service between Prague and Brussels, Madrid, Athens, London (Stansted) and also Odessa, Thessaloniki, Yerevan and Düsseldorf. The new plane is scheduled to take its inaugural flight for CSA on Monday morning in a flight to Brussels. The new Airbus A319s will replace the Boeing 737-500s, which are currently used as part of the airline's fleet and will be returned to their owner after their current operating leases are up at the end of April and May. CSA ordered the new planes in a combination layout with a two-class configuration – with both business and economy classes. The planes can seat 135 passengers, which is 27 seats more than were available in the B737-500s.
The airline has been able to continue with the upgrade of its medium range fleet thanks to an extension of its guarantee for the financing of the new Airbus A320/319 aircraft. The guarantee was provided to Czech Airlines in early February by European Export Credit Agencies (ECAs). "They made the decision [to extend the guarantee] based on the company's financial results for the past year and the approved 2007 business plan that was prepared by the company's new management. It anticipates both a growth in earnings, as well as a further reduction in costs," said Luboš Černý, CSA's Vice President for Finance. CSA's management presented the airline's long-term strategic direction and the approved 2007 business plan to ECA bankers and analysts in Berlin at the end of 2006.
The New Aircraft
The new planes are powered by engines manufactured by CFM International S.A. The new generation aircraft will offer the passengers a more comfortable travel experience with their more spacious and wider cabins and their larger overhead luggage compartments. The planes are also equipped with the latest onboard communication equipment.
The flight range of the new aircraft is 1,200 km greater than that of CSA's existing mid-range fleet. Compared to the older generation Boeing 737s, these planes are also approximately five percent faster. The operating expenses of the Airbus A320/319 are relatively low thanks to their greater fuel efficiency, lower maintenance costs and better performance on shorter runways. The A320/319 are also environmentally 'cleaner' – the aircraft meet stricter noise and emission standards and offer a substantially greater carrying capacity than the older generation planes they replace.