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CSA Czech Airlines Launches New Virtual Low-Cost Airline:

CSA Czech Airlines Logo CSA Czech Airlines, a member of the SkyTeam alliance since 2001 with an annual passenger number of around 5.5 million is going through a lot of changes these days. They are in the middle of a fleet renewal program replacing their Boeing 737s with Airbus A320 family aircraft, they are introducing a new overall visual presentation that includes the redesign of their downtown Prague sales office, new uniforms and just lately the introduction of a redesigned logo. Also as part of these changes, which are paving the road for a hopefully successful upcoming privatization sometime next year, CSA has launched a new low-cost airline:

Actually, the new low-cost airline is not really an airline, it’s more of a marketing tool, as they will not operate a fleet or any aircraft, or crew, they simply buy the unsold seats on the CSA flights and then sell those to their passengers. It is basically a separately branded, long-term seat-sale at the Czech National Carrier but instead of advertising low prices on CSA flights and open the CSA brand to a different, low-cost clientele, they have created a separate brand with fixed prices. So in reality, the new Airline is a simple website selling remaining CSA seats at low prices, nothing more, nothing less. But the idea is great! It keeps the CSA brand as an alliance brand with their focus on business travellers and frequent fliers, while the brand can serve a different market segment, while keeping the big brother “untouched”. Technically a similar solution has already been in use, with another Czech Airline: TravelService. They are a charter airline, but have launched a low-cost brand called SmartWings, which has a dedicated fleet and network, but also sells the remaining seats on charter flights operated by TravelService aircraft. But the CSA solution is new that it only does the later solution, it doesn’t operate a single aircraft! A Virtual Airline – we have joked about such an idea with my ex-colleagues at Malev, but never went farther than that. Well, CSA did, and it seems like a really good idea! website 

Tickets can only be purchased via the new website (which after all is THE airline in itself…):  You have to book and purchase your ticket at the same time, and as usual in case of an e-Ticket, upon sucessful payment you receive an email with all necessary details of your flight. They guarantee a low and final price of CZK 1990 (~EUR 72.10) for each direction, that includes all fees. Tickets then can not be changed or refunded, and have several other restrictions as well, such as spending a minimum of 3 days or a weekend at the destination, and you always have to buy a return ticket, one ways are not offered. They offer 36 European destinations (basically all European destinations of CSA – major airports, not 100 km’s from a city as a “normal” low-cost would do) and Cairo, Egypt, and on each flight the passengers will receive the same onboard treatment as if they had bought a regular Czech Airlines ticket (including refreshments and newspapers for example). (It would be funny if a flight attendant would go around with the trolley and give your neighbour a sandwhich and drinks, but would leave you out from the service. Just think about how much administration would be required so that the flight attendants would know who is a regular CSA passenger and which seat seats a Click4Sky passenger – not worth it from an operational point of view.)

CSA expects an annual extra revenue of several hundred millions of Czech Crowns and targets an around 20% of the Czech low-cost market within 2 years. Quite ambitious, but not impossible!

by balint01


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