Smartwings will operate flights from five Czech airports during the summer season.
The first flight on the new route to Antalya, Turkey, departed from Karlovy Vary Airport on Wednesday evening. Smartwings will operate the route once a week in cooperation with Cedok travel agency. The deployed Boeing 737-800 (registration OK-TVX) was welcomed by a traditional ceremony with the help of firefighting specials.
In addition to Cedok representatives, representatives of the airport and the region were also present. The latter will contribute to Cedok with CZK 100 thousand per flight. There are 10 flights planned, the first one was sold out. Smartwings does not sell tickets separately, the prices of package holidays with the travel agency now start at CZK 11,490 per person. Flights will operate on Wednesdays.
The first flight was delayed by almost four hours due to heavy traffic over Europe and an ATC outage during the day. It can be tracked on Flightradar24.com.
No scheduled flights have yet been operated from the west of the Czech Republic. The airport has understandably relied on the influx of Russian tourists for years but the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine is diminishing hopes of their return. Nordwind Airlines planned on flying to the spa town from St. Petersburg from last Christmas but the line was canceled. At the same time, Cedok announced it wants to fly from Karlovy Vary to Crete next year.
Now the airport intends to focus on new markets, specifically Israel, managing director Alice Justina Undus said in an interview with Czech Television. The airport’s development is hampered by the size of the runway. The current parameters are rejected for regular operations e.g. by Ryanair. The Karlovy Vary Region is counting on the key investment, and is currently seeking a designer to extend and lengthen the runway in a public tender. The region plans to start construction in 2024.
Edited and translated by Lucie Trávníčková.