March 13, 2020
The airlines of the Smartwings Group, Smartwings and Czech Airlines, pursuant to measures applied by the Government of the Czech Republic regarding a ban on travelling abroad for all Czech citizens and a ban on entry to the country for all foreigners without permanent or temporary residency in the Czech Republic, are suspending, for the term of effect of said measures, all their air connections from/to the Czech Republic and are forced to ground up to 50% of their fleet. An additional seven Smartwings Group Boeing 737 MAX8 aircraft have been grounded for a year due to their global ban.
Operations on Czech Airlines and Smartwings routes from/to the Czech Republic will gradually be disrupted between 13 and 16 March 2020 to facilitate the return of Czech citizens and foreigners with permanent or temporary residency in the Czech Republic to the country. Czech Airlines and Smartwings will allow passengers from affected flights to rebook their tickets free of charge for a later date. Pursuant to the Czech Government decree regarding a ban on operating flights to regional airports, Smartwings flights from/to Brno and Ostrava will be rerouted to Prague. Due to the spread of Covid-19, the Smartwings Group has previously temporarily disrupted Czech Airlines flights from Prague to Milan, Bologna, Rome and Seoul, alongside the Smartwings Tel Aviv service.
The Smartwings Group is ready to arrange the repatriation of Czech citizens to the Czech Republic should such service be requested by the Czech Government.
“In this unparalleled situation, the health and safety of our customers and employees remains our top priority. The dramatic decline in demand caused by extraordinary circumstances has forced us to adopt radical austerity measures and steps. We believe that we will be able to overcome this difficult situation we are facing and that confidence in travel will soon be restored,” Jiří Šimáně, Chairman of the Smartwings Board of Directors, said.
The purpose of the austerity measures implemented by the Smartwings Group is to mitigate the financial impact of the drop in demand on all companies within the Group. Any follow-up measures and steps taken by the Smartwings Group will be based on the development of the Covid-19 epidemic in Europe and measures and decrees adopted by individual states in the following days and weeks.
The final impact of the evolving situation on the Group’s total revenues cannot be estimated at this point.
The Smartwings Group employs over 2,300 people.