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ČSA-Czech Airlines
ČSA-České Aerolinie
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded6 October 1923; 100 years ago (1923-10-06)
HubsVáclav Havel Airport Prague
Frequent-flyer programOK Plus
Fleet size2[1]
Parent company
HeadquartersPrague, Czech Republic
RevenueDecrease CZK 9.5 bn (2014)[4]
Operating incomeIncrease CZK 285 m (2016)[4]
Total assetsDecrease CZK 2.2 bn (2014)[4]
Total equityDecrease CZK (0.3) bn (2014)[5]

Czech Airlines (abbreviation: ČSA, Czech: České Aerolinie, a.s.) is the flag carrier of the Czech Republic. Its head office is located in the Vokovice area of Prague's 6th district and its hub is Václav Havel Airport Prague. The company mainly operates scheduled flights,[6] serving two destinations as of 2024.[2]

When, in 2018, 97.74% of Czech Airlines was bought by the privately owned[7] Smartwings, ČSA became a part of the Smartwings Group. The remaining 2.26% of ČSA was owned by insurance company Česká Pojišťovna.[8] The airline runs a frequent flyer programme called "OK Plus" in reference to the airline's International Air Transport Association designation, as well as the term of approval; OK also featured prominently in its previous livery, and is the prefix of Czech Republic aircraft registrations. It is a member of the SkyTeam alliance.

ČSA is the fifth oldest airline in the world, after Dutch KLM (1919), Colombian Avianca (1919), Australian Qantas (1920), and Soviet/Russian Aeroflot (1923). It was the first airline in the world to fly regular jet-only routes (between Prague and Moscow).[9]

ČSA filed for bankruptcy in March 2021 and went through an extensive business restructuring, exiting in June 2022.[10][11] As of 2022, ČSA was under a new ownership structure with a new parent company called Prague City Air s.r.o. owning 70% of the company, with Smartwings retaining the remaining 30%.[3] As of 2024, the airline operated flights from Prague to two destinations.[2]


Farman F.60 Goliath used by ČSA in 1929
An Ilyushin Il-12 of Czechoslovak Airlines at Paris Orly Airport in 1957
ČSA Tupolev Tu-104 OK-LDA, 1958. This aircraft is displayed in the Prague Aviation Museum, Kbely
A Czechoslovak Airlines Tupolev Tu-134A, OK-EFK at Pisa Airport in May 1975
A Czechoslovak Airlines Ilyushin Il-62 OK-DBE, 1975 at Milan Linate Airport

Early years

ČSA was founded on 6 October 1923 by the Czechoslovak government as ČSA Československé státní aerolinie (Czechoslovak State Airlines).[12] Twenty-three days later, its first transport flight took place, flying between Prague and Bratislava. It only operated domestic services until its first international flight from Prague to Bratislava and on to Zagreb in Yugoslavia in 1930. After the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia in 1939 and the splitting of the country into three parts, the airline was dissolved.

Following a coup in February 1948, the Czechoslovak Communist Party suspended some of ČSA's western European and Middle Eastern routes and also gradually replaced much of the fleet with Soviet-built airliners, due to the embargo imposed by the West on the western-built aircraft spares and other equipment. The Ilyushin Il-14 was updated and built under licence in Czechoslovakia as the Avia-14.

In 1950, ČSA became the world's first victim of a mass hijacking. Three Czechoslovak Douglas DC-3 airliners flown to an American air base in Erding, near Munich, stirred the world on both sides of the "burnt through" Iron Curtain and the case intensified the Cold War between East and West overnight. On the morning of 24 March, the three aircraft landed near Munich instead of at Prague; the first from Brno, at 08:20, the second from Moravská Ostrava at 08:40, and the third from Bratislava at 09:20. Two-thirds of the people on board were unwilling participants and later returned to Czechoslovakia. The Czechoslovak Communist government commissioned a 'flight to freedom' book, stage play, and film (all bearing the name Kidnap to Erding) which celebrated the kidnapped returnees as heroes who had not allowed themselves to be swayed by promises of capitalist opulence. Those who remained and requested political asylum in West Germany were proclaimed criminals for whom the Prague government vigorously requested extradition – in vain. The pilot from Brno was Josef Klesnil,[13] a former Royal Air Force pilot with 311 squadron, who flew from Brno to Erding with a pistol pointed at his head.[13]

In 1957, ČSA became the third airline to fly jet services, taking delivery of and putting into service the very first Tupolev Tu-104A that year. ČSA was the only airline other than Aeroflot to operate the Tu-104. The Tu-104A service that began in 1957 between Prague and Moscow was the first jet-only connection (other airlines used both jets and piston/turboprop aircraft).[9] The airline's first transatlantic services started on 3 February 1962 with a flight to Havana[6] using a Bristol Britannia turboprop leased from Cubana de Aviación. ČSA's transatlantic flights were code-shared with Cubana's services to Prague, and Cubana's crews provided initial training and assistance in the operation of the Britannias.

1960 to 1990

From the late 1960s, ČSA used a range of Soviet-built aircraft and modified versions of them for its extensive European and intercontinental services which totaled some 50 international and 15 domestic destinations. The Britannia was replaced with long-range Ilyushin Il-18D turboprops at this time, and transatlantic routes were established to Montreal and New York City in addition to Havana. Along with the Il-18D, aircraft in ČSA's fleet included the short-range Tupolev Tu-134, medium-range Tupolev Tu-154, and long-range Ilyushin Il-62. As with several other airlines, the Il-62 was the first long-range jet airliner to be put into operation by ČSA (also the first foreign customer to buy Il-62s from the USSR). ČSA operated a fleet of 21 Il-62s between 1969 and 1997, including six Il-62Ms. A ČSA-registered Il-62 and three Il-62Ms were used as official Czechoslovak and Czech government transports between 1974 and 1996.[14]

After absorbing the "heavier" part of Slov-Air and taking its Let L-410A Turbolet turboprop commuters into its fleet in the early 1970s, ČSA partner airliner Slov-Air became the world's first to have a captain, Ján Mičica, slain at the controls by a hijacker, during a hijacking to West Germany. The aircraft involved, OK-ADN, is currently displayed in an open-air aircraft museum in Martin, Slovakia.[15]

The 1990s and 2000s

The first Western European aircraft of ČSA after the Velvet Revolution, Airbus A310-300, 1992
A former Czech Airlines ATR 72-500 which was phased-out in March 2021.

After the breakup of the Czechoslovak Federation, the airline in May 1995 adopted its present name. By the late 1990s, most of its Soviet aircraft had either been sold to other airlines or retired (a number were preserved), replaced with Western models such as the Boeing 737, Airbus A310 and Airbus A320. ČSA became a full member of the SkyTeam alliance on 18 October 2000. As of March 2007, the airline, with 5,440 employees, was owned by the Czech Ministry of Finance (56.92%), Czech Consolidation Agency (34.59%), and other Czech institutions.

On 1 January 2010, the whole non-office ground staff of ČSA was transferred to the ČSA Support subsidiary, now named Czech Airlines Handling S.R.O. In February 2010, ČSA sold off its duty-free shops to another entity.[6]

EU competition regulators began an investigation into Czech Airlines on 23 February 2011, stating that it doubted the loss-making concern could return to viability and comply with European Union state aid regulations.[16]

In late 2012, ČSA Czech Airlines announced expansion plans and the resumption of long-haul flights from summer 2013 with Airbus A330 aircraft between Prague and Seoul.[17] Starting in March 2013, it operated direct flights from Prague to Perm, Nice, Munich, Zurich, Seoul, and Florence.[18]

After stock sales to Korean Air on 10 April 2013, ČSA Czech Airlines was owned by Czech Aeroholdings a.s. (56%) and Korean Air Lines Co., Ltd. (44%). On May 14, 2013, Czech Airlines Extraordinary General shareholders' meeting elected Cho Won-tae as a new member of its supervisory board. Cho replaced Petr Matousek, who resigned from his position on the supervisory board. This personnel change took effect on 1 June 2013 as a result of Korean Air's equity purchase.

In April 2015, Travel Service Group bought 34% of the airline, over which Korean Air had an option.[19][20] In 2016, the airline returned to profit for the first time in several years.[21]

On 6 October 2017, Korean Air announced the sale of its 44 percent stake in Czech Airlines, which it had held for four years, to Travel Service. Travel Service by then owned 78.9 percent of ČSA.[22] Czech state company Prisko owned 20 percent of ČSA.[22] Travel Service later also acquired Prisko's stake, increasing its stake to 97.74%.[23]

Latest developments

In March 2019, Smartwings announced that ČSA would undergo a fleet transition, with the Airbus A319 and ATR 72 to be retired.[24] In October 2019, Czech Airlines announced an order for four Airbus A220-300 and three A321XLR, which had been converted from orders for the A320neo. But in August 2021, Czech Airlines announced the orders' cancellation.[25]

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Czech Airlines announced in April 2020 the end of its already suspended sole long-haul route to Seoul.[26] Thus its sole Airbus A330 was to be returned to lessor Korean Air by October 2020.[27][28]

During the COVID-19 pandemic ČSA fell into insolvency, applying for a moratorium in August 2020.[29] In February 2021, a maintenance provider ordered the seizure of two Czech Airlines' ATR 72-500 in Prague over unpaid debts. Prior to the incident, near the end of the moratorium, majority owner Smartwings announced that Czech Airlines faced insolvency should it not receive state financial aid,[30] but the aid raised controversy.[31] That same month, the airline notified the Czech Republic's Employment Office that it might lay off its entire workforce of some 430 people. In March 2021, it added that it had no means to meet its financial obligations and filed for bankruptcy.[32]

In March 2021, ČSA announced the immediate retirement of all ATR 72-500 aircraft, considerably shrinking its remaining fleet.[33] At the end of August 2021, ČSA was operating just one Airbus A320 aircraft; the second was inoperable.[34] As of summer 2022, Czech Airlines had reduced its network to just three scheduled routes.[35]

In June 2022, ČSA exited business restructuring under a new ownership structure. Prague City Air, founded under the aid of Smartwings shareholders Jiří Šimáně and Roman Vik, was created to own 70% of ČSA while current majority shareholder Smartwings retained 30%.[11] As of late 2022, the airline also planned to rebuild its fleet and route network using Airbus A320 and newly acquired Airbus A220 aircraft.[3]

Corporate affairs

Head office

In 2016, Czech Airlines head office moved to Evropská Street in 6th district, Prague, Vokovice district[36] to lower overhead.[37] Czech Airlines formerly had its head office, the APC Building,[38] on the grounds of Václav Havel Airport Prague in Ruzyně, 6th district, Prague.[39] On 30 December 2009, ČSA announced it would sell its head office to the airport for CZK 607 million.[40] Prior to the insolvency application, in February 2021, Czech Airlines moved their headquarters to the Smartwings building at Prague airport.

Former subsidiaries

A former Airbus A320-200 of Holidays Czech Airlines

Financial results

Since its transformation to a joint-stock company in August 1992, ČSA has never paid dividends. The sale of a minority share to Air France was a fiasco, and the French airline withdrew. Subsequently, Antonín Jakubše and Miroslav Kůla stabilized the company and enlarged its fleet.[45] In September 2003, Miroslav Kůla was fired. New CEO and ex-minister Jaroslav Tvrdík agreed with the unions to increase wages by a third and announced an "unprecedented" enlargement of the fleet.[46][47]

In 2005, the financial situation sharply deteriorated. Although the sale of two ATR aircraft improved operating results by CZK 198 million, the operating loss was almost half a billion Czech crowns and the Government of Jiří Paroubek replaced Jaroslav Tvrdík with Radomír Lašák. The airline generated further operating losses, despite revenues of CZK 2.1 bn from the sale of almost all real estate and CZK 1.2 bn from aircraft sales. In 2005–2010, ČSA generated an operating loss of CZK 3.4 bn; without long-term asset sale revenues, the operating loss would have been twice as large. The gross margin did not even cover personnel expenses.[48]

In 2016, the airline handled 2.7 million passengers and announced a net profit of 241 million crowns.[49]

Consolidated financial results of České aerolinie a.s. in 2005–2014[48]
billion CZK 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2005-14
Sales 21.5 24.0 24.0 23.2 20.4 16.9 14.8 13.7 10.2 9.5 178.2
Cost of sales (18.3) (18.6) (18.7) (18.7) (18.1) (14.3) (12.8) (12.1) (10.0) (8.8) (150.4)
Gross margin 3.2 5.4 5.4 4.5 2.2 2.6 2.1 1.5 0.2 0.7 27.8
Personnel cost (4.1) (4.5) (4.8) (4.8) (4.9) (3.9) (3.3) (1.5) (1.3) (1.2) (34.3)
Disposals of LT assets 0.2 0.2 0.6 1.4 0.4 0.8 0.3 (0.2) 0.1 0.0 3.8
Reserves 0.3 (0.5) (0,1) 0.3 (0.6) 0.5 0.1 1.1 0.2 (0.1) 1.1
Other (depreciation etc.) (0.0) (0.8) (0.7) (0.6) (0.7) (0.3) (0.4) (0.1) (0.1) (0.0) (3.7)
Operating profit (0.5) (0.2) 0.5 0.7 (3.5) (0.3) (1.1) 0.8 (1.0) (0.6) (5.4)

Corporate identity

A new look for Czech Airlines was revealed in September 2007. The new logo was created by Michal Kotyza, who works for the airline.[50]




Czech Airlines offers buy on board service on some flights in addition to free service.[51][52]

Frequent-flyer program

The OK Plus frequent flyer programme gives passengers "OK Plus Miles" for flights with Czech Airlines, SkyTeam member airlines, other partner airlines or non-airline partners such as hotels, car rentals, banks etc. OK Plus membership cards are available with the following tier levels: OK Plus membership, OK Plus Silver, OK Plus Gold, and OK Plus Platinum. The higher the card level, the greater the number of benefits passengers receive.[citation needed]


Further information: List of Czech Airlines destinations

As of February 2021, Czech Airlines served four scheduled year-round and seasonal destinations including their home base at Václav Havel Airport Prague.[2] This figure is down from 33 routes in summer 2019.[53] Flights are operated mainly in Europe, with Beirut being the sole remaining Middle Eastern destination. Via its codeshare partners, ČSA offers more than 110 destinations and 45 countries from Prague.[54]

Codeshare agreements

Czech Airlines codeshares with the following airlines:[55]

Charter flights

In June 2007, ČSA signed a contract with Exim Tours, the largest Czech travel agency, extending their contract for another three years. In May 2010, ČSA withdrew its last Airbus A310 used for these services.[58]


Czech Airlines Airbus A320-200

Current fleet

As of November 2023, Czech Airlines operates the following aircraft:[59][1]

Aircraft In service Orders Passengers[59][1] Notes
B E Total
Airbus A220-300 4 TBA Deliveries from 2024.[60]
Airbus A320-200 2 180 180
Total 2 4

Historical fleet

Czech or Czechoslovak Airlines operated these aircraft types in the past:[61][62][63][64]

Aircraft Total Introduced Retired Notes
Aero A.10 5 1923 1924
Aero A.14 Brandenburg 3 1923 1927
Airbus A310-300 4 1991 2010
Airbus A319-100 8 2007 2022
Airbus A321-200 3 2005 2018 Leased from DAT.
Airbus A330-300 1 2013 2020 Leased from Korean Air.
ATR 42-300 5 1994 2011
ATR 42-400 2 1996 2005
ATR 42-500 6 2004 2018
ATR 72-200 5 1992 2015
ATR 72-500 6 2012 2021 [33]
Boeing 737-400 15 1995 2016
Boeing 737-500 15 1992 2008
Boeing 737-800 1 2018 2020 Leased from Smartwings.
Bristol Britannia 2 1962 1969
Douglas DC-3 7 1946 1956
de Havilland DH.50 8 1925 1930
Avia F-VIIb-3m 6 1936 1939
Ford Trimotor 1 1929 1930
Ilyushin Il-12 10 1949 1959
Avia Il-14 32 1957 1977
Ilyushin Il-18 18 1960 1990
Ilyushin Il-62 9 1969 1995
Ilyushin Il-62M 6 1969 1995
Junkers Ju 352 1 Un­known Un­known
Junkers Ju 52 5 1946 1948
Let L-200 Morava 20 1958 1969
Let L-410 Turbolet 12 1976 1981
Let L-410M Turbolet
Lisunov Li-2 8 1949 1957
Saab 340B 3 2008 2010
Saro Cloud 1 1935 1938
Savoia-Marchetti S.73 6 1937 1940
Tupolev Tu-104A 6 1957 1973
Tupolev Tu-124 3 1964 1972
Tupolev Tu-134A 14 1971 1997
Tupolev Tu-154M 7 1988 1999
Yakovlev Yak-40 5 1974 1992

Accidents and incidents

Fatal accidents

Non-fatal accidents




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  2. ^ a b c d - Destinations retrieved 1 July 2022
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  4. ^ a b c Annual Report 2014
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  30. ^ (German) 9 February 2021
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  35. ^ (French) 19 May 2022
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  41. ^ retrieved 7 March 2019
  42. ^ retrieved 7 March 2019
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