Prague will be connected to Southeast Asia for the first time when Vietnam’s Bamboo Airways launches its Hanoi-Prague service in April.

Prague Airport, the operator of Prague Vaclav Havel airport, says Bamboo will operate the twice-weekly service with Boeing 787-9s, which are configured with 298 seats and adds close to 600 seats per week. The new service will also raise the number of Prague’s long-haul destinations to 17.

Bamboo’s launch builds on a memorandum of understanding the carrier inked with Prague Airport in April 2019.

“Opening direct regular connection to Southeast Asia has been part of Prague Airport’s long-term route development strategy. Moreover, Hanoi is the destination with the largest potential from all markets where there is no direct service operated from Prague yet,” says Prague Airport’s chairman Vaclav Rehor.

“Based on our estimates, the new Prague-Hanoi service with two frequencies a week could be used by more than 50,000 passengers per year in both directions.’’

Cirium schedules data shows that Bamboo’s Hanoi route will be Prague’s first connection to Southeast Asia. Prague is connected to Seoul, Kazakhstan’s capital Nur-Sultan, as well as Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai, and Xian in China.

Meanwhile, Chinese carriers are cutting back on flights to the Czech capital.

Prague Airport tells Cirium that Hainan Airlines will end its thrice-weekly Beijing-Prague service on 29 February.

The operator adds that China Eastern Airlines plans to lower the frequency of its Shanghai Pudong-Prague service from three to two times a week, though no schedule has been specified. There are no changes to its twice-weekly Shanghai Pudong-Xian-Prague service.

Cirium data shows that China Eastern currently dominates the China-Prague market with 1,150 seats each week across two routes, followed by Hainan with 850 seats a week from Beijing, and Sichuan Airlines with 580 seats from Chengdu