Czech Airlines to sell 737 fleet and cut network by a third

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SkyTeam carrier Czech Airlines will eliminate its Boeing fleet by the end of 2012, under a three-year restructuring plan newly approved by the Czech Government.

It says that its fleet and network could be cut by up to 30% over this period as part of the reorganisation.

"Unlike with previous restructuring approaches that were based primarily on cost cuts, the main point of the present restructuring strategy is a new transportation network concept," says Czech Airlines president Miroslav Dvorak.

Czech Airlines says the initial effects of the route adjustments, including the cutting of unprofitable services, will come during the 2010-11 schedule.

The carrier will simplify its fleet, moving to a single-type jet operation based on Airbus A320-family aircraft.

Eight A319s previously ordered will be brought into the fleet while the Boeing 737-400/500s - of which it has about 18 - will be "gradually sold off", it says, by the end of 2012.

"The reduction of the number of aircraft will also reflect the natural development of the aircraft fleet, determined by, among other factors, the termination of lease agreements," it adds.

Czech Airlines has not given a figure for the number of job losses involved in the restructuring, but says that it is aiming for "minimisation of the social impact of the changes".

Dvorak says, however, that the savings from personnel changes will be "in the order of tens of millions of crowns". He adds that the proposed measures should "lead to the renewal of the company's stability" to the extent that it is predicting a return to profitability in 2012.