Czech Airlines, based in Prague, Czechia, is the latest in a growing number of airlines to see the benefits of the Airbus A220 series. With long range, good seat density, exceptional fuel economy and low running costs, as well as its ability to service thinner routes more profitably, it’s a sensible choice.
However it wasn’t all good news for Airbus as the airline swapped to the A220 from an order for A320Neo’s, designed to replace the airlines ageing A319’s all of which are leased from Eurowings.
The three new A220’s will also have a nearby service centre just a short flight away – something that weighed on the minds of several airlines. airBaltic, which so far is the worlds largest operator of the A220 with 17 in service, is the first airline with a fully authorised and trained service centre – and it aims to offer other airlines the full maintenance and servicing package it provides for itself. Even Swiss is said to be interested in airBaltic’s offering because its cheaper than servicing them at home.
Czech Airlines choice also means it will get its aircraft sooner – another important factor in the overall plan to save on costs. the wit list for Neo’s is long and the aircraft type is still subject to delays even with the new Finkenwerder plant now coming on stream.
Czech Airlines operates just 13 aircraft and carries 2.6 million passengers annually.
It has 5 ATR 72-500’s, a single A330-323 leased from Korean Air (which part owns its major shareholder Smartwings), 6 A319’s leased from Eurowings, and a single 737-86N leased from BBAM.
It’s a fleet that’s ageing and needs re-investment to make it more financially viable.