Czech Airlines launches long-haul flights to Seoul

6 Dec 2012

Czech Airlines, the country’s flag carrier, plans to restart long haul operations with the launch of a twice-weekly service to Seoul from June 2013, and it will expand its codeshare with Korean Air.  

Flight OK190 will leave Prague at 1255 on Saturdays, landing in Seoul Incheon at 0540 the next morning. The Sunday flight, meanwhile, will depart the Czech capital at 1830 to touch down in South Korea at 1115 the next day.

The return leg service – OK191 – will leave Seoul Incheon at 1245 on Sundays and Tuesdays, landing back in Prague at 1650 the same day. A 280-seater A333 aircraft that will join the airline's fleet in June will be used to ply the route.  

“We have been analysing Eastern markets since the beginning of our restructuring, looking for ways to develop in that direction,” says Czech Airlines’ President Philippe Moreels. “Developments confirm our belief that the future of the aviation business lies in connections to Asia.”

Moreels added that the decision was inspired by the success of the airline’s 2011 launch of medium-haul flights to Abu Dhabi and codeshare with Etihad airways on ongoing Asian connections (see here). 

Following this model, Czech will also seek to expand its codeshare with Korean Air. The two airlines will codeshare on Czech’s Prague to Seoul flight, and Czech will also place its code on more of Korean Air’s onward Asian regional flights.

“Thanks to the mutual harmonisation of departure and arrival times, passengers travelling from Prague will have perfect connections to Korean Air flights from Seoul to Japan, China and the Pacific,” said Jirí Marek, Czech Airlines’ vice president for sales and marketing.

The new Czech flight, departing at the weekend, will compliment the four weekly flights (on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday) which Korean Air operates between Seoul and Prague.

In 2010, South Korea became the Czech Republic’s fourth biggest non-European trade partner, behind China, Japan and the US. According to the Czech Embassy in Seoul, the Czech Republic’s foreign trade turnover with the Republic of Korea increased by 37.69 per cent between 2009 and 2010.

The Czech Republic’s primary export to Korea is commodities such as pumps, toys, copper waste, heavy engineering products, electrical equipment components, and spare parts for transport equipment. Meanwhile, Korea’s largest exports to the Czech Republic include consumer electrical goods and automobiles. In 2008 the Korean car maker Hyundai opened a USD$1,221 million production plant near the village of Nošovice in the East of the Czech Republic.

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Nicholas Olczak

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