Prague – In order to get Czech Airlines (ČSA) back in the black, the company will have to shrink, says Finance Minister Eduard Janota.
The changes he proposes include reducing its fleet by one third and the number of employees by one tenth.
His plan is already approved by the caretaker government and will be implemented in the following three years.
Less employees, planes and destinations
ČSA employs directly about 3,300 people, and hundreds work for its subsidiary. The company operates roughly 50 airplanes.
The company will have to significantly change its air schedule. The first major changes will take place in the winter months of 2010/11, ČSA’s spokeswoman Hana Hejsková said.
„The number of destinations operated by our planes can decrease by 30 percent. The less profitable routes will be canceled,” said Miroslav Dvořák, the CEO of ČSA.
The company will sell all of its Boeing airliners, keeping the Airbus airplanes.
“A big problem”
„We expect that in 2012, we can look forward to ČSA making profit once again,” said the CEO.
Last year, ČSA’s operating loss equaled almost four billion CZK (160 million EUR). „If there are four million passengers (of ČSA), this means a thousand for each passenger,” said Transportation Minister Gustáv Slamečka in an interview with Czech daily Hospodářské noviny. „If we let this continue, it would be a big problem,” he added.
ČSA already implemented some cost-saving measures last year, so the net loss for 2009 was only 3.5 billion CZK.
The smoke monster over Europe
In the last years, the company has sold property worth six billion CZK. The recovery plan approved by the government will push ČSA to keep selling.
If the plan is implemented successfully, ČSA can be in the black next year.
This year’s economic results will be affected also by the air traffic restrictions caused by the volcanic eruption in Iceland, during which ČSA lost 200 million CZK (8 million EUR).
Read more: More layoffs planned at Czech airlines