18 MARCH 2013
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It may seem at first glance a strange partnership but an alliance between CSA Czech Airlines and Korean Air makes sense. The Far East airline is moving ahead with a 44% investment in the State carrier. Approval is still required by the Czech cabinet which is expected in early April and the deal is said to be worth in the region of €2.64m (US$3.4m).
Korean Air already operates direct flights to Prague, and under the privatisation plan it would make Prague one of its major transfer points in Europe. Korean Air gains a foothold in Europe but does not break the majority shareholding rule. Other European destinations include Amsterdam, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Frankfurt, Heathrow, Madrid, Milan, Rome and Vienna. Both airlines are members of Skyteam.
CSA Czech Airlines carried 4.25m passengers in 2011 and lost CZK241m (US$12.3m) that year, the last period for which results are available.
Founded in 1923 and one of Europe's oldest carriers, CSA has suffered financially since expansion plan faile and has had to undergo a tough restructuring programme. The Czech Republic is in the European Union but uses its own currency (Koruna). www.csa.cz
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