Czech gets first Airbus delivery

Czech Airlines is in the process of collecting its first new Airbus A320 from this year’s production of the factory in Toulouse.The handover of the new plane is expected to be completed by Thursday, February 15. After the plane’s relocation to Prague, the aircraft will undergo another final round of inspections and it will then be put into regular service, starting at the end of the month. The new plane will initially be put into service on medium-haul routes such as ?SA’s regular flights to Paris, Brussels, Madrid, Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Between February and the end of April, ?SA will collect a total of three new Airbus A320s and - for the first time - two new Airbus A319s. These new additions to the airline’s fleet are five out of the twelve new planes to be acquired under the October 2004 tender for the acquisition of medium-haul aircraft. ?SA acquired the first of these new A320s in 2006 and the manufacturer will deliver the last four of the aircraft in 2008.

The new planes are replacing the airline’s current Boeing 737s, which will be returned to the leasing company after the end of their leases. In April and May, the airline will be returning four smaller Boeing 737-500s, which have a passenger capacity of 108, and one Boeing 737-400, designed to carry 162 passengers. These planes will be replaced by this year’s three new Airbus A320s, each of which is designed to carry 162 passengers, and the two smaller Airbus A319s, which are designed for just 135 passengers. All in all, due to these changes, ?SA will be adding a total of 200 seats of flight capacity to its medium haul fleet - just in time for the summer travel season.

Due to the ongoing nature of its process of upgrading the airline’s medium distance fleet, ?SA has been able to extend its guarantee for the financing of the newly acquired Airbus A320/319 aircraft, which was provided to Czech Airlines in early February by the European Export Credit Agencies (ECAs). “The decision to extend the guarantee was made based on the company’s last year’s results and based on the approved 2007 business plan prepared by the company’s new senior management. The business plan anticipates increased earnings and further reductions in costs,” said Lubo? ?ernĂ½, ?SA’s Vice-President for Finance. ?SA’s ‘New Strategy’ and the business plan approved for 2007 were presented by the airline’s management to ECA’s bankers and experts at the end of last year in Berlin.