Czech Airlines has become the latest customer for the Airbus A220, ordering four examples of the larger -300 variant. The Central European carrier has also upsized a commitment for three A320neos to the A321XLR.
Launched at June’s International Paris Air Show, the A321XLR offers a range of 4,700nm (8,700km) which will enable Czech Airlines to begin services from its Vaclav Havel Airport Prague base to destinations on the US East Coast, including New York, Washington, Philadelphia and Boston. The carrier’s sole long-haul route, a four-times weekly connection to Seoul, South Korea, is also within the range of the ‘XLR. Currently this is operated using an Airbus A330-200 on lease from Korean Air.
It has yet to be confirmed whether the 149-seat A220s will complement or replace the carrier’s six-strong fleet of A319s, five of which are currently leased to Eurowings. The A319s are between eight and 12 years old, having been delivered new to the airline between 2007 and 2011, and accommodate 145 passengers in a two-class configuration.
Petr Kudela, Chairman of the Board of Czech Airlines, said: “The A220 and A321XLR fit well with our long-term business strategy in terms of network expansion. These aircraft will definitely give Czech Airlines a competitive advantage and will increase the capacity of our regular flights. I believe that this step will be appreciated by our passengers, as the aircraft offer best in class comfort even during long haul flights thanks to a brand-new cabin configuration.”
Christian Scherer, Airbus chief commercial officer, added: “What a winning combination for Czech Airlines! The A220 has proved to be a strong performer in Europe with its high daily utilisation being a testament to its versatility. The A321XLR has the longest range of our A320 Family. Passengers can now fly further without compromising on comfort, whilst Czech Airlines benefits from remarkably lower fuel consumption as it expands its network.”
The two fuel-efficient aircraft types will complement Czech Airlines’ existing fleet of six A319 and one A330-300, and allow it to continue extending its network to reach more markets. The airline will also benefit from the commonality of Airbus Family aircraft. The A220-300 will be fitted with 149 seats, while the A321XLR will cater for top comfort in a two-class layout with 195 seats.