Czech Airlines Replaces Order For 4 A320neos With A220s

Czech Airlines has jumped onboard the Airbus A220 bandwagon by ordering four of the larger -300 variant. But this came at a cost as they reduced their A320 order from seven to three.

Airbus_A220-300
The small European carrier has swapped four A320neos for four A220-300s. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Who is Czech Airlines?

Czech Airlines is a relatively small airline based out of Prague, Czech Republic. It only flies to 30 destinations with a fleet of 14 aircraft, but this doesn’t stop it carrying 2.26 million passengers in 2016 alone.

They are owned almost completely outright by Smartwings (97.74%) with the remainder owned by a local insurance company. Their other claim to fame is that Czech Airlines is actually the fifth oldest operating airline in the world, after KLM, Avianca, Qantas, and Aeroflot, and the first airline to fly exclusively jet-aircraft.

As of today, its fleet currently consists of six older A319’s, six ATR-72’s and a single Boeing 737-800. It also has one A330-300 on loan from Korean Air.

As you can see, their fleet is a generation behind and could do with some newer aircraft. According to Flight Global, the airline decided to reduce their A320neo order (designed to replace their A319-100 aircraft) of seven aircraft to only three. At the time it was unknown why they did this, but now fellow aviation site Flieger Faust has revealed that they chose to replace those missing orders with orders of the largest A220 variant, the A220-300.

Czech Airlnes
Czech Airlines A319. Photo: Kiefer via Wikimedia

Why did they change their order?

There are several advantages to reducing their order of A320neo aircraft for A220 aircraft.

The A220-300 is a different breed of aircraft compared to the A320neo. The A220-300 might carry fewer passengers than the A320neo (141 vs 165) but it has other advantages that make it worthwhile.

For a start, the A220-300 is super efficient at carrying a small load of passengers. It will allow Czech Airlines to open up new routes to regional airports that wouldn’t exactly be profitable running a large A320neo aircraft. Additionally, the A220-300 can land at smaller runways than the bigger A320 and might be a bit more flexible across Central Europe.

Airbus A220
The expected delivery could potentially be 2020 onwards. Photo: Airbus

As the two aircraft types are built in completely different factories (not even on the same continent) there is no chance that the production delays that the A320 line is experiencing will impact the A220 order. Thus, it is likely that Czech Airlines will receive its first A220 before it gets its first A320. It may even have its entire four A220-300s flying before the A320s are delivered.

While we are not privy to the details of this deal, it might have been that Airbus wanted to ‘encourage’ the sale of the A220 over the popular A320. By having another airline purchase the aircraft, it looks good to shareholders and the rest of the market. Perhaps for both Airbus and Czech Airlines, it really was a win-win scenario.

What do you think about the A220 order? Let us know in the comments what you think.

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Simon Durda

Czech airlines USED TO be a big airline, but unfortunately their CEO sold most of their airlplanes to Smartwings and Czech airlines have not yet recovered from this.

rn42

NONE of the CSA airplanes were sold to Smartwings. Ever.

hrnsgs

The CEO was Jaroslav Tvrdik. He started megalomaniac expansion, ordered many aircraft and after that, he started to sell everything to close the hole in their budget. He took into management many people who didn’t know anything about aviation. CSA had to sell his business like handling, service, planes and stop many routes after his madness. He was appointed as the CEO of the CSSD, which was the ruling party in the Czech Republic. He was at the Ministry of Defense (failed), CEO of CSA (failed), he planned an election campaign (they failed) and after some years he came back… Read more »

Tom

It is quite simple. CSA want fly to smaller airports bud with highier frequency also for example airports Karlove Vary, Ostrava , Pardubice, Sliac, Poprad, Zilina, Kosice, Krakow and etc These airports are small but the demand is there. Their Prague HUB is not so important, because CSA does not have long haul flights like Austrian for example. Their only long haul route is to Korea. The long haul routes were more than dacede canceled. They want fly to other airports as often as possible. Like Rome , London , Amsterdam , Frankfurt, Warsaw, Madrid and etc. So they need… Read more »

Frank

“… Czech Airlines is actually the fifth oldest operating airline in the world, after KLM, Avianca, Qantas, and Aeroflot”

Thanks Nicholas – I love learning new things like this – who would have imagined?

Good job on the A220 – Czech!

Patrick

I can’t wait for Airbus to build the A220-500 and just get rid of the A320neo altogether.

F.M.

If I’m not mistaken, I read in Czech newspapers that indeed they’ll go for the 4xA220s which is a great choice, however it seems they’re also adding 2x A321LRNeo as Smartwings has a respectable destination route and this would fit beautifully into their strategy especially when they are a Boeing operator and the 737Max fiasco is halting their plans.