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Prague-Based CSA Carried 7.5 Percent Fewer Passengers

Jan. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Ceske Aerolinie AS, the Czech state carrier known as CSA, carried 7.5 percent fewer passengers in 2011 than in the previous year as it reduced operations amid operating losses.

The airline carried 4.25 million passengers, vice president Jiri Marek said at a press conference in Prague today. The number of travelers from the Commonwealth of Independent States rose 8 percent from 2010.

The unprofitable carrier has reduced the number of planes and flights and spun-off units in a bid to narrow its losses and streamline operations. The state-controlled company, which is seeking a strategic partner, had to cancel flights in December due to pilot protests against planned layoffs.

The company has withdrawn flights from Scandinavia and the Middle East which were not economically viable, Marek said. The carrier will open new destinations in Russia, including Niznij Novgorod, where Czech companies are present.

CSA is better placed in Russia and serves more destinations there than its Western European competitors such as Air France, the executive said. Ticket sales in the Commonwealth of Independent States continue to grow while sales from Western Europe are stagnating, the executive said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lenka Ponikelska in Prague at lponikelska1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net

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