CSA resumes flights to Beirut following increased interest in Czech spas

Photo: Filip Jandourek

After a break of several years, the national carrier Czech Airlines is relaunching direct flights between Prague and Beirut. The service comes in response to increased interest among Middle Eastern tourists in Czech spa holidays, but will only be in operation for the summer months.

Photo: Filip Jandourek
CSA’s first direct flight between the Czech and Lebanese capitals since 2012 was due to take off at 9:55 on Monday evening. It was fully booked, according to the company’s website.

The airline has reactivated the route in response to growing interest from tourists in the Near and Middle East in spa services in the Czech Republic, Czech Airlines spokesperson Daniel Šabík said.

The airline will also introduce a route to Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, from next month, Šabík said.

Tomáš Menčík, an analyst with aviation industry specialists Cyrrus, discussed the reasons for CSA’s move with Czech Radio.

“The Middle East is attractive, despite what’s going on there from the security perspective. In my view, it makes sense. I expect that the route will be full to capacity. But this doesn’t say anything about CSA. The airline is in relatively good condition compared to in the past. Its financial indicators are gradually improving – and this new route will contribute to it doing even better.”

The revived Prague-Beirut line will only operate until the end of September this year. But Tomáš Menčík says there is nothing out of the ordinary about airlines running such short-term services.

Tomáš Menčík,  photo: archive of Cyrrus
“Many routes are just seasonal. They are filled to capacity, hopefully, during the summer. If it turns out that this route has done well in that period, it will in all likelihood be opened against next year. There’s nothing unusual about this. If there’s demand, they’ll keep it going. And if they are expecting a fall-off in demand during the winter, there’s no point keeping the route running at any cost.”

The analyst says the majority of passengers on the reactivated Prague-Beirut route are unlikely to be from this part of the world.

“In my view, Czechs flying to Lebanon will be in the minority. I think that’s also what CSA have been planning for. I don’t expect there will be a dynamic change in demand for flights to Lebanon on the part of Czechs. If anything they will make up a marginal number of passengers.”