The wings of Czech Republic

CSA (Ceskoslovenske Aerolinie) was founded in October of 1923. It's first commercial flight was Prague-Bratislava with a biplane Aero A-14 which was the first aircraft in the fleet. Not long after the first flight was inaugurated, the company expanded its service to its first international destination: Zagreb. But in 1939 at the dawn of the second world war, Germany occupied Czechoslovakia and so the airline stopped expanding.
During the post war era in the late 1940's, the beginning of the cold war, Czechoslovakia was totally ruled by the communist (I beleive that Prague was invaded by the Soviet Union in 1968, it was the time Alexander Dubcek was a member of the Czechoslovak Communist Party) and the fleet would consist only of Soviet built aircraft. This was so until the fall of the communist regime in Eastern Europe.
The first jet arrived in the late 1950's, it was the then new Tupolev TU-104, the first jet airliner built by the Russians. CSA was the only airline besides Aeroflot, to operate the TU-104 aircraft. CSA also flew the TU-124, an improved version from the original TU-104 jet. The next jet aircraft to be phased in was the Tupolev TU-134 then in service widely in the Soviet Union. The TU-134 would serve CSA on short and medium haul routes to most destinations in Europe for more than two decades, it was until the middle of the 1990's the backbone of the fleet. Other Soviet built aircraft to be added were the Ilyushin IL-18, the IL-62 which would be flown on long haul transatlantic routes and finally the Tupolev TU-154. The TU-154 was added only in the late 1980's, unlike other Eastern European airlines which flew the type earlier, and it stayed in the fleet until the year 2000 when CSA retired the last Russian built aircraft. In fact, the TU-154 was the last Russian type to be phased out.

In 1991, after the collapse of the communism, the first Airbus A310, also the first Western built aircraft, arrived. A fleet of four A310's would eventually join the fleet and be assigned on transatlantic flights, replacing the four-engine IL-62 aircraft. It was the time when Czechoslovakia split up in two different countries: Czech Republic and Slovakia. Prague and Bratislava became the two capitals of the two countries, respectively, and the two countries joined the European Union years later.

The first Boeing 737, CSA's only Boeing product, arrived in the middle of the 1990's. It was phased in to replace the older TU-134 and eventually the TU-154 aircraft. CSA currently operates a fleet of Boeing 737-400 and 500 Series aircraft on flights out of Prague to various destinations in Europe. One very important thing to know is CSA took delivery of the last 737-400 built in 2000. Added also to the fleet is the ATR-42 twin engine propeller for short flights.
The latest addition to the fleet is the Airbus A320 aircraft, along with the A319 and A321 derivatives. Those have been ordered in the middle of the 2000's to eventually replace the Boeing 737's in the long run, I think that the idea is to move towards an all-Airbus fleet and I think also that CSA's partnership with Air France is one reason for them to choose the A320 over the NG737. I don't think CSA will ever add Next Generation 737's to its fleet. No words yet on what will replace the A310's on long haul flights, but I have heard rumors that CSA will likely choose either the A330, A340 or A350. This being said, it is very unlikely but not impossible, that CSA will add another Boeing type to its fleet, maybe the 787 but I doubt.

CSA joined the Sky Team alliance in 2001. It was one of the first airlines to join the alliance founced by Air France and Delta in the late 1990's. I took a trip to Prague just for a week end in early 2005, I flew CSA out of Paris to Prague, the aircraft was a B737-500 on the outbound segment and a 400 on the return segment. That was when I signed up on Air France's frequent flyer program. At that time it was still called Frequence Plus because the AF/KL wedding was not officially announced yet. I very much enjoyed my trip to Prague, the golden city, it is a lovely place to visit. I would with pleasure go there again.
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