Czech Airlines plans Russian expansion

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SkyTeam alliance member Czech Airlines has detailed plans to expand its Russian operations in anticipation of a steady increase in passenger numbers.

Speaking in Moscow, the company's regional manager for Russia and the CIS, Daniel Shur, said its traffic on the Prague-Moscow route had proved more intensive than on other routes and would rise 24% to 310,000 passengers in 2011.

"Traffic to and from other Russian cities will amount to half of that," he predicted. "This growth is on the back of increased tourist flow with more than half a million Russian citizens visiting the Czech Republic in 2010."

Shur expects further growth due to broadening the carrier's reach in the country.

During the winter season it will add four-weekly services from Prague to Moscow and one both to St Petersburg and Samara, which will be also served from Karlovy Vary.

"In 2012, we'll introduce scheduled flights from Prague to Novosibirsk and Ufa as well as to Baku in Azerbaijan," said Shur, who also expects traffic gains from codesharing with Aeroflot and Tatarstan Airlines, in particular, on routes to Sochi and Kazan.