Smartwings Triples Its Passengers From 2020 To 2021

Smartwings Group, the Czech airline group that owns the country’s flag carrier Czech Airlines, saw an incredible 199% increase in passenger numbers in 2021 when compared to 2020. 7% of the passengers traveled on Smartwings aircraft that were wet-leased to other airlines, which is much lower than in 2020 when this was the case for 33% of the Group’s passengers.

Smart Wings Boeing 737 Getty
Smartwings had a much better 2021 than 2020, and it is hoping the trend will continue. Photo: Getty Images

An incredible 199% increase in passenger numbers

Smartwings Group airlines carried 2,529,611 passengers in 2021. The figure represents an incredible year-on-year increase of as much as 199%.

In 2020, the Smartwings airlines carried 1.3 million passengers, which represented a decrease of 83.7% compared to 2019. This was one of Europe’s biggest decreases in passenger traffic.

Interestingly, the Group actually recorded a decrease in the number of passengers it carried via its ACMI agreements with other airlines: in 2020 it carried 451,000 passengers through wet-lease agreements, which represents a share of 33%, while this figure was just 7% in 2021 when there were 159,000 of these passengers.

Conversely, the Smartwings Group airlines carried as much as 222% more passengers to and from its primary home country, the Czech Republic, in 2021 than in 2020.

As many as 981,000 passengers traveled on Smartwings flights from or to the hub airports outside of the Czech Republic. These include Poland, France, Germany, Israel, Hungary, Slovakia, and Spain’s Canary Islands. The Group is known for proactively seeking contracts with tour operators across Europe to operate charter and scheduled services on their behalf. For example, from the Canary Islands, it flew to six European destinations this autumn.

The Group is even deploying its aircraft in Israel and the USA during the ongoing winter season to generate revenue that it cannot make itself by running charter flights outside of the summer season.

The Smartwings Group includes Czech Airlines which is in business reorganisation. Photo: Getty Images

Which airlines are in the Smartwings Group?

In its primary home, the Czech Republic, Smartwings runs flights under its own name as low-cost and charter services. Still, despite being low-cost, it launched flights to London Heathrow last year.

Smartwings also owns Czech Airlines (CSA), the legacy carrier that is the flag carrier of the Czech Republic. Czech Airlines is not in a very good position at the moment: it is in administration and is being reorganized. The reorganization is going well so far because the administrator is selling off Czech Airlines’ emissions allowances to generate revenue to gradually cover its debts.

Smartwings 737-800
Smartwings has subsidiaries in Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland. Photo: Getty Images

Smartwings has subsidiaries in Eastern Europe

The Smartwings Group also runs flight operations under the Smartwings brand in several countries outside of the Czech Republic.

It has a subsidiary in Hungary, called Smartwings Hungary, which is based at Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport (BUD) and has one aircraft in its fleet. The aircraft is a parked Boeing 737-800 that is almost 20 years old.

There are also subsidiaries in Slovakia (Smartwings Slovakia with one Boeing 737-800) and in Poland (Smartwings Poland with one Boeing 737-800).

What do you think of Smartwings airlines performing so well in 2021? What fate do you think awaits Czech Airlines? Let us know what you think of this story in the comments below.

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