Czech Airlines and Smartwings, the two largest air carriers in Czechia, transported 83.7 percent fewer people, with the coronavirus epidemic causing sales to fall by as much as 90 percent compared to 2019.
Due to the unprecedented situation in aviation caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Smartwings Group experienced a significant drop in transport performance last year. It carried more than 1.3 million passengers on regular flights and charter flights under the Smartwings and Czech Airlines brands. This is a year-on-year decrease of 83.7 percent.
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the air transport market in the Czech Republic is the most affected European market by coronavirus pandemics and travel restrictions.
Last year, the Smartwings Group operated 13,500 (a decrease of 78.4 percent), and aircraft in the colors of Smartwings and Czech Airlines landed at 263 airports around the world. In addition to the Czech Republic, the group also operated flights from France, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Canary Islands. The Smartwings Group currently numbers 47 aircraft.
“At the beginning of last year, the Smartwings Group aimed for the best result in its history. Instead, we have had to face an unexpected and unprecedented crisis in the air transport industry. Due to the drastic decline in demand caused by extraordinary circumstances, we were forced to implement very drastic austerity measures and take many major steps,” said Roman Vik, Member of the Board of Directors and CEO of Smartwings.
Not even a fifth of the flights flew after the first quarantine
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent measures taken by the Czech government and other European countries, there was a historically unprecedented reduction in flights, a drop in the number of passengers, and thus a drop in the company’s income. In the spring months of the state of emergency, air traffic was completely halted.
After resumption, the operation did not resume to even a fifth of its original capacity. The effects of the coronavirus epidemic caused sales to fall by as much as 90 percent compared to 2019.
“Now, mastering the vaccination of the population is a crucial factor in returning to travel. Our goal is to be a major player in the European air transport market and a competitive airline. We still believe we can do it. Mainly thanks to our employees who stood the test and I thank them very much for that,“ added Roman Vik.
Despite the drastic effects of the coronavirus pandemic on travel, the Smartwings Group from the Czech Republic serves the most destinations (currently 11) and is the largest carrier at Václav Havel Prague Airport. In addition to regular and charter flights under the Smartwings and CSA brands, it also provides a number of special flights for various important organizations, sports clubs, etc.
The company has long been involved in arranging UN and NATO-funded flights for the armies of the Scandinavian countries to Afghanistan and Mali.
Title image: Czech Airlines aircraft lands at the airport in Prague, Czech Republic, Friday, Oct. 6, 2017. Czech airline Travel Service says it has acquired a majority stake in the national carrier Czech Airlines or CSA. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)