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Aviation in the Czech Republic consists of three local carriers, the main national carrier is Czech Airlines based at the main international gateway in Prague Ruzyn? Airport. Ruzyn? Airport is also home to Smart Wings, a LCC owned by Czech Airlines – the national carrier. The largest regional airport is in Ostrava – ‘Leoš Janá?ek Airport’ the main hub for Central Connect Airline. Air Navigation Services of the Czech Republic (ANS CR) and EUROCONTROL provide air navigation services and the Civil Aviation Authority Czech republic (CAA CZ) oversees and regulates the aviation industry.
Airports in Czech Republic
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Korean Air, in one of the still-rare international airline acquisitions, bought a 44% stake of CSA Czech Airlines in 2013 for a relatively light EUR2.64 million. The Korean flag has been rewarded by growth of over 200% in the number of passengers transiting in Prague, Czech's hub. But also light are details on the strategic rationale of the acquisition. Hub cooperation – and this boosting of transit passengers – could theoretically have been achieved without equity.
While Korean Air has detailed how transit passengers in Prague have risen from about 600 a month in 2012 to a peak of 2,000 in Sep-2013, Korean has not stated what volumes it has lost in Frankfurt. Korean Air and Lufthansa had a successful interline agreement that was terminated in advance of Korean's acquisition of Czech.
Korean is touting the benefit of reaching additional European cities from Prague, but again it is unclear how much of this is growth versus replacement from Lufthansa. It is also unclear what further synergies exist between the carriers.
Also in the partnership spectrum – small but more rationale – Korean Air is expanding a deal with Etihad Airways, now a global leader in cross-border purchases and partnerships. Korean Air will code on Etihad's services to Johannesburg and Muscat while Etihad will code on Korean's services to Honolulu and Vancouver.
Korean Air seeks new markets after betting the house on N America, seemingly without SkyTeam support
Korean Air in Sep-2013 deployed its A380 to Atlanta, making the city the third in North America to see Korean Air's A380 service. Like fellow SkyTeam member, Air France, Korean is focussing much of its A380 attention on US points - as befits Korean Air's status as the largest Asian airline in North America, despite its population of only 50 million.
But Korean Air is realising this position comes with the corollary of heavy exposure to the North American market. Some 36% of its ASKs are on North American routes, a single market proportion that no other Asian carrier applies.
Airlines are looking to reduce risk more than ever, and Korean Air is no different: the carrier is looking for new markets it can build with time to diversify itself away from North America. Yet North America will not lose prominence anytime soon for Korean Air. This is partially due to North America's strength but also Korean Air's weakness so far in finding new markets. It has entered Nairobi and purchased CSA Czech Airlines, both moves that will need considerable time to mature. Korean Air has broken Asian airline inertia and is thinking creatively – in some areas, at least – but now needs to bed down the strategy.
Air Seychelles announced a strong second quarter and half year financial performance as its turnaround strategy begins to deliver results. The carrier stood on the brink of collapse in 2011 before Etihad came to the rescue by taking a 40% equity stake.
Since its partnership with Etihad took effect in Jan-2012, a considerably slimmed-down Air Seychelles has demonstrated strong growth as it works to re-establish an international network through an increasing number of codeshare partners.
Air Seychelles forecasts that it is on track for a second year of profitability after reporting a USD1 million profit for the financial year to Dec-2012, having lost USD12.5 million in 2011.
Air Seychelles’ CEO, Cramer Ball stated: “We are creating a solid foundation for the future of our airline, Seychelles tourism and our home economy, and we are on track for a second year of profitability”.
South Korea's largest carrier, Korean Air, is modest – too modest. It punches above its weight and is a formidable carrier being the largest Asian airline in North America. Asian carriers are increasingly favouring North America: in the short term its economy is doing better than Europe's and in the long term competition will be lighter owing to fewer carriers.
Geography is on its side given Korea's relative proximity to North America. Korea is not as close as Japan is, but Japanese carriers face a higher cost base, nearly twice that of Asiana and Korean.
Korea is also an efficient springboard from China, where Korean Air is the largest foreign carrier after Dragonair and rival Asiana, allowing it to tap sixth freedom markets as Chinese carriers sluggishly respond to that huge potential. Korean Air is increasing North American capacity, including with A380s, but also looking to new markets around Asia.
Iceland’s de facto national carrier is operating the largest schedule and the largest fleet in its 75-year history after increasing frequencies on existing routes, adding a ninth North American gateway and placing into service additional Boeing 757s. Icelandair commenced a four times weekly service from Reykjavik’s Keflavik International Airport to Denver in Colorado on 11-May-2012, expanding its network in North America to nine destinations (two in Canada and seven in the US). The new route to Denver is an extension of Icelandair’s expansion strategy which builds on the country's geographical location mid-way between North America and northern Europe.
The airline’s predecessor Loftleidir pioneered sixth freedom rights and low-fare trans-Atlantic travel via Iceland in 1953 and in 1990 Icelandair was the first airline to offer scheduled trans-Atlantic flights on a 757. Icelandair now operates a single fleet of 757s aircraft across its entire international network, spanning 22 destinations in Europe and North America. The single-type fleet creates significant cost efficiency in terms of maintenance and training for crew and engineers.
Kenya Airways plans to launch its first services to North America, South America and Australia by 2017, making it one of the few carriers to serve every inhabited continent. While these three continents will give Africa's currently fifth-largest airline by seats a global presence, its future is pegged on Asia, with the carrier over the next 10 years planning to launch seven new routes into China, six in the Indian Subcontinent and three across North and Southeast Asia as well as having a growing presence in Europe and the Middle East. It is poised to become Africa's largest carrier.
Growth will be fuelled by Africa's status as a burgeoning market, as well as reliance on partners: Kenya Airways will open routes to SkyTeam member hubs in Xiamen (Xiamen Airlines), Hanoi (Vietnam Airlines), Seoul (Korean Air), Moscow (Aeroflot) and Prague (Czech Airlines). The intercontinental focus follows Kenya's strong emphasis on regional Africa, with the carrier aiming to serve every African nation by the end of 2013.