ČSA halves Prague-Bratislava-Košice flights in summer

CZECH airliner České Aerolínie (ČSA Czech Airlines) has reduced the frequency of scheduled flights between Prague and Košice via Bratislava for the summer. Travellers now have four instead of eight return flights per week. The airliner scaled back its summer flight schedule due to lower interest among business clients in flying this route during the summer months, the SITA newswire reported on July 15.

“The route between Prague, Bratislava and Košice is used especially by business travellers, similar to other flights of Czech Airlines, for example, between Prague and Budapest, Dusseldorf or Brussels,” Daniel Šabík, the spokesperson of ČSA, told SITA. “During summer holidays the demand for air transport on these routes is reduced.”

According to Šabík, during the summer months the interest traditionally shifts from business to holiday destinations. In response, ČSA adjusts its flight schedule each year and the Prague-Bratislava-Košice line is no exception. As of the beginning of September, the airliner will resume its original schedule. During summer, those interested can use Prague-Bratislava-Košice flights on Monday morning, Wednesday morning and evening and Friday evening.

In spite of the summer reduction, the Prague-Bratislava-Košice route has been meeting the expectations of ČSA. The Czech transporter was surprised by the relatively high interest among people in flights between Bratislava and Košice.

“Many flights during the busiest days and times have been sold out or almost sold out in economy class,” said Šabík. ČSA does not provide concrete data about individual routes, perceiving them as sensitive business information which is not public.

ČSA resumed flights on the Bratislava-Košice route in December after a two-year break, while it has extended it to Prague, too. The route is used especially by business travellers and in particular on the route between Bratislava and Košice. They also use the route as a transfer flight from Prague to other destinations.

The Czech airliner continues to operate 13 direct flights between Prague and Košice per week, also during the summer, without any reductions because the route has a more balanced composition of passengers and thus does not report such seasonal swings as routes used at 70 percent by business clientele.

The Prague-Bratislava-Košice link marks its 90th anniversary this year. The first commercial flight on this route by the then Československé Štátne Aerolínie took place on May 5, 1924. This was also a milestone for the Košice airport, as this meant the start of regular civil air transport in Košice. The aeroplane used for the historical first flight between Bratislava and Košice was the legendary Aero A-14 Brandenburg biplane with an open cabin. At that time the flight lasted three hours. Now the same flight takes less than one hour. Direct flights between Košice and Prague were launched in 1955. ČSA has marked the anniversary with a photo exhibition showing the development of air transport over the last 90 years. After its presentation in Prague, it moved to the Košice airport, where it opened on July 16.

Apart from Bratislava and Prague, Košice’s airport offers regular flights to London and Vienna. This summer season it extended its offers with charter flights to 17 holiday destinations. Most of these are in Greece and Italy, but also in Tunisia, France, Turkey, Bulgaria, Egypt, Spain, Croatia and Cyprus.

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