CSA Czech Airlines carried 16.5% more passengers last year than in 2000, but still expects to make a loss as a result of a strong Czech koruna and high fuel prices, says company vice-president sales and marketing V clav Kr l.

Business traffic fell by more than 10%, with most of the 2.88 million passengers flying in economy class. CSA had expected to carry more than three million passengers, but "as a result of the 11 September events, we lost 120,000 customers and CKr450 million [$12.7 million]", he says.

The actual turnover and profit figures for 2001 will not be available until mid-May, but Kr l says that it will make a loss, which CSA president Miroslav Kula estimated late last year would be hundreds of millions of koruna.

Load factor was 70.8% in 2001, a growth of 40% compared with the year before. In March and April, CSA expects a 30% passenger increase and may buy a tenth Boeing 737-400.

Meanwhile, CSA's privatisation has been postponed until next year, when its SkyTeam alliance partners Air France and Delta Air Lines are expected to buy into the airline.

Source: Flight International