Direct Prague to Shenzhen flights to start

This will be the fifth direct route to a city in China

Prague Airport has signed a strategic partnership agreement with Sichuan Airlines for opening of a new direct link between Shenzhen and Prague. Sichuan Airlines will launch the new route July 1, 2019, and flights will be scheduled twice a week, every Monday and Thursday.

Shenzhen will become the fifth destination in China with direct flights from Prague and another long-haul destination that passengers can head to from Václav Havel Airport Prague.

“We are very excited to build on our successful cooperation with the carrier and to extend the range of connections for our passengers to a new long-distance destination.

The introduction of direct flights from Shenzhen will increase Chinese tourists’ interest in Prague and the Czech Republic, as well as create opportunities to develop mutual business relations with the region,”Václav Řehoř, chairman of the board of Prague Airport, said.

“We expect the new route to have up to 40,000 passengers annually in both directions,” he added.

Tickets will be available on the carrier's website at www.sichuanair.com.

Opening a direct connection with Shenzhen, on which the airline will use an Airbus A330 configured for 274 passengers, will greatly simplify travel between Prague and the Pearl River Delta area in southern China. This area includes not only the dynamically developing city of Shenzhen, but also easily accessible cities such as Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Macau. Almost 120 million people live in the region.

The signing ceremony took place April 25, 2019 at the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Beijing on the occasion of the state visit of Czech President Miloš Zeman to China. Jiří Kraus, deputy chairman of the board of directors of Prague Airport, and Haiying Li, chairman of the board of directors of Sichuan Airlines, signed the agreement.

The first direct link between Prague and China was a route to Beijing that began Sept. 23, 2015, with carrier Hainan using a Boeing 767. A Prague to Shanghai route began June 23, 2016, with China Eastern Airlines using an A330-200.

Since Aug. 12, 2016, Sichuan Airlines has been operating direct flights between Prague and Chengdu in Sichuan Province, southwest China. Direct flights to Xi’an were launched in Oct. 29, 2017, by China Eastern Airlines using an airbus A330.

China has become an increasingly important source of tourists coming to the Czech Republic. In 2018, The number of arrivals from China increased the most of any major country, up 26.5 percentt, according to City Hall.

Václav Havel Airport Prague in 2018 had a record 16,797,006 and 155,530 take-offs and landings. While there were 9 percent more passengers than in the previous year, the number of airplane movements increased less than 5 percent.

The airport opened April 5, 1937, as Prague Ruzyně Airport. After former president Václav Havel's death on Dec. 18, 2011, an online petition asked the government to rename it to Václav Havel International Airport. This name change took place Oct. 5, 2012, on what would have been Havel's 76th birthday.

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