Czech Republic keen on resuming direct air connectivity between the two countries

The new ambassador of the Czech Republic in India, Milan Horvoka, has committed to explore the options of resuming direct air connectivity between the two countries. The direct air linkage between Delhi and Prague (run by Air India) was suspended in 1991 but according to the Czech Ambassador, there is an urgent need of putting this service back in place considering the growing bilateral trade exchanges and tourists footfall.

Czech Republic keen on resuming direct air connectivity between the two countries11“ The bilateral trade between the two countries presently stands at $1.3 billion but we anticipate a major jump given India’s emphasis on its ambitious “ Make in India” programme and our expertise in manufacturing. Plus, we are noticing a modest growth in the arrival of Indian tourists – to the tune of 30 percent in the recent year. The timing, therefore, is apt for the re-introduction of a direct flight between the two countries,” he said. Over 10,000 Indian visitors are expected to visit the Czech Republic this year which has an annual arrival base of 8 million foreign tourists. Germany, the UK, France and the US are major source markets for the country with South Korea and China being the major contributors from Asia. Recently, a direct flight has also been introduced between the Czech capital Prague and Beijing to provide better accessibility.

For Indian travellers, however, the best stopover options to reach out to Prague are presently provided by Turkish Airlines and Emirates. According to Milan Horvoka, efforts will soon be set afoot to approach concerned authorities and the potential airlines which could initiate direct service but prior to that a critical assessment exercise will be undertaken. “We are also part of Schengen countries and, therefore, many visitors might be coming on the common visa which works in the region. We are currently examining the volume of Indian visitors also visiting the Czech Republic on this common visa and then we will have the precise idea of the potential traffic. We will kick off our negotiation exercise for direct connectivity after the data has been compiled,” he underlined.

Meanwhile, the Czech Republic, after opening two additional visa facilitation centers in Mumbai and Delhi recently is also likely to open three new outlets in other important Indian metros in 2016. “ With the growing Indian footfall in the Czech Republic, it has become imperative for us to position our facilitation centers in other cities too,” Milan Hovorka added.

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