For Czech Airlines, the 2012/13 winter season will be marked by the optimisation of seasonal fluctuations, product improvement on individual routes, and the continuation of the established strategy of providing a transfer bridge between East and West. In the upcoming winter season, Czech Airlines will offer its passengers the same number of weekly frequencies as in the current summer season – a total of 418 return flights in the peak weeks. The Airline has prepared an improved product with more flights, for example, on its routes to Budapest, Brussels, Düsseldorf, Copenhagen, Milan, and Warsaw. Czech Airlines also plans to add frequencies on some of its services to the Russian Federation and Tel Aviv. Together with its partners, Czech Airlines will operate flights to 68 destinations in 47 countries in the upcoming winter season.
In terms of the overall number of weekly destinations, Czech Airlines’ 2012/13 winter flight schedule will tie into the current summer schedule. In its peak weeks, the Airline will operate the same number of return frequencies with its own aircraft: 418. “At the beginning of this year, we implemented several fundamental changes as a part of the next stage of the transformation of our carriage network – a year-on-year reduction in seat capacity by one-third, the opening of new destinations, the discontinuation of operations on certain routes, and the transfer of the operation of selected flights to a code-share basis. Those changes were positively reflected, not only in a further increase in the share of local passengers in the second quarter of this year, but also in revenue from scheduled carriage per passenger, seat, and flight,” said Philippe Moreels, Chairman of the Management Board and President of Czech Airlines, adding: “In the upcoming winter season, we will therefore optimise individual changes, reduce the seasonality of our carriage network, and improve our product for customers.“
More flights to Brussels, Düsseldorf, and Milan, but also to Eastern Europe
In the upcoming winter season, Czech Airlines will also offer an improved product on scheduled flights to several West European and Central European destinations. The Airline will double the number of daily flights to Düsseldorf, when its two flights it has operated will be supplemented with a noon flight and an overnight turnaround. Passengers travelling to Brussels will newly be able to choose from up to four daily flights. Czech Airlines will add a second morning flight on this route, improving both the local connection for business passengers and for transfer passengers who will travel from Brussels onwards into Eastern Europe on the airline’s flights. A noon flight will also be added on the Milan route, on which Czech Airlines will newly operate three return flights daily. The number of flights between Prague and Budapest will be increased to a total of five per day. “For passengers from the Hungarian metropolis, this will yet increase the comfort of connecting to most Czech Airlines flights to Eastern Europe and Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi. These types of flights are either not offered in Budapest at all, or are insufficient,” explains Jiří Marek, a Member of the Czech Airlines’ Management Board and Vice President for Sales and Marketing. Czech Airlines will also add three return flights weekly on the Copenhagen and Warsaw routes.
Renewal of Scheduled Service to Berlin and Stuttgart
Czech Airlines will pick up Job Air’s scheduled flights from Prague to Berlin and Stuttgart, offering two daily frequencies to both destinations – morning and evening. “Thanks to the planned changes in our fleet and the re-introduction of the ATR72 model, we have managed to find sufficient capacity and a new model for operating to both destinations. The service between Prague and Berlin will be continued,” adds Philippe Moreels. The renewal of operations to Berlin and Stuttgart will commence at the end of the current summer season, on 3 September 2012.
Planned New Flights to Eastern Europe and More Flights to Tel Aviv
Czech Airlines also plans to extend its sales offer in the Russian Federation. In cooperation with its partners, the Airline is preparing to boost its scheduled service to Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod, St. Petersburg, and Ufa – adding one weekly frequency at each destination. New in the airline’s flight schedule will be its code-share cooperation with Tatarstan Air, on a new direct service between Prague and the Russian city of Perm. In recent weeks, Czech Airlines has opened its own sales offices in Minsk and Ufa, and another two sales and representation offices will start operating in August, in Almaty, Kazakhstan and Tashkent, Uzbekistan. With these steps, Czech Airlines intends to enhance its operations in East Europe and Central Asia, and to offer its partners and clients there more comprehensive and customised products.
Czech Airlines also plans to boost its scheduled service to Tel Aviv. Together with its existing flights, the Airline should operate 11 return flights every week in the winter season. In cooperation with Etihad Airways, Czech Airlines is preparing an expansion of its flight schedule with the addition of new long-haul destinations, via a transfer in Abu Dhabi.
Another innovation of the upcoming winter season is a change in the model of operations to Tashkent and Geneva, which will newly be operated all year round. On the other hand, the flights to Baku and Lvov that are highly seasonal will not be operated in the winter season, and both destinations should – together with the traditional Venice – reappear in next year’s summer season’s offer again.
New Product Classes and a Mobile Website
Czech Airlines’ overall offer for the 2012/2013 winter season is supplemented with product and technological innovations – new fare and product classes and, for smartphone users, a mobile website and mobile applications developed by the Airline. Czech Airlines has tested both services in recent weeks.
Czech Airlines’ new fare and product classes have names: Promo, Standard, Plus, Flexi, and Business. The first four are in the Economy travel class. Each product class represents a certain ticket price level and guarantees a package of corresponding and clearly defined services, such as various baggage weight limits, the possibility to change a booking, varying numbers of miles credited in the OK Plus frequent flyer programme, and other services. “For a long time, Czech Airlines used a model of rate and product classes that did not suit it, and in practice, only two or three were actively offered to passengers. This resulted in a limited offer of various ticket price levels that differed greatly,” says Jiří Marek, in explaining the reasons for the introduction of the new product. For this reason, Czech Airlines has fundamentally altered the design and logic of the booking system on its own website, which now displays the full range of all ticket price levels for the given flight. The new booking system is more intuitive, more clearly structured, and faster. Each product class will be gradually expanded with the addition of new services, in particular in connection with the planned upgrade and unification of the airline’s airline systems on the Amadeus Altéa platform, which will take place in two stages, this December and next March.
One of the latest innovations that Czech Airlines is rolling out is a mobile website and a proprietary mobile application for smart phone users. Czech Airlines’ mobile website operates on all existing operating systems. It enables users to buy a ticket comfortably and quickly, and to check arrivals and departures, and existing bookings. The mobile website is available in five languages – Czech, English, Russian, German, and French. Czech Airlines also developed its own application for telephones with the Android operating system, which can be downloaded from the Android Market. The Airline is also currently working on developing its own application for the iOS (Apple) operating system, which should be available to users by the end of this year.