On Saturday, February 8, 2020, at 12.30, the last flight to China departed from Prague’s Václav Havel Airport. Flights are suspended indefinitely. It was a Sichuan Airlines flight between Prague and Chengdu. These measures were introduced by the government due to the coronavirus in China. Airbus 330 of a Chinese carrier flew with 200 passengers, the machine has 303 seats. In the last two weeks, interest in flights from the Czech Republic to China has dropped by more than half year-on-year basis.
According to last year’s statistics of Sichuan Airlines, 21 191 people traveled from Chengdu to Prague, with 18 953 in the opposite direction. Flights took place twice a week.
The ban on direct flights applies only from Sunday 9 February, but there is no Sunday connection between the Czech Republic and China. The measure was issued by the Ministry of Health under the Public Health Protection Act. The ministry has already done the same restriction in the last week, instructing the airport to instruct passengers about the symptoms of the virus and related countermeasures. The ban concerns commercial flights only. The measure does not apply to government flights.
All connections between Prague and four Chinese cities will be affected. There were a total of 12 connections a week. 188,000 passengers used these flights in both directions in the last year alone. Some other countries have recently introduced the same measures due to coronavirus.
Prague Airport has had direct connections to four Chinese destinations so far. These were Sichuan Airlines flights to Chengdu, China Eastern Airlines to Shanghai and Xi’an and Hainan Airlines to Beijing. The line to the Chinese capital, which operated three times a week, will soon end permanently. The carrier has previously announced its cancellation in early March. Other connections are likely to continue once the temporary ban on flights to China is lifted.