Prague Now Has Twice Weekly Direct Air Connection With Taipei
On Wednesday morning, China Airlines President George Kao arrived at Václav Havel Airport on the first regular flight. Credit: Prokop Laichter.
As of Wednesday, a direct flight has been established between the capitals of the Czech Republic and Taiwan, which is an important milestone for Prague. The new air connection will primarily help the economy and tourism. It is also an exclusive line by European standards; the Taiwanese company China Airlines only operates direct flights to Taipei from six cities in Europe.
On Wednesday morning, China Airlines President George Kao arrived at Václav Havel Airport on the first regular flight. A ceremonial meeting was then held in the airport lounge after the launch of direct flights from Taipei to Prague, attended by the Deputy Mayor of Prague for transport, Zdeněk Hřib, and Senate chairman Miloš Vystrčil.
“Today is a truly festive event for our city,” said Hřib. “The first plane on a direct route from Taipei landed at Prague Airport today. This is a concrete result of many years of efforts to build trade and diplomatic relations with the cradle of smart technology and innovation, which I supported as mayor of Prague in a personal meeting with President Tsai Ing Wen during my visit to the capital of Taiwan in 2019. It became clear that economic diplomacy can be done with a straight spine instead of pandering to China with scant results. The distance of 9,000 kilometres can now be covered comfortably twice a week without unnecessary transfers, for which I would like to thank the Taiwanese airline China Airlines.”
Airbus A350 long-haul aircraft will travel from the East Asian island to Central Europe in approximately 12 hours and 30 minutes, flying in this direction every Tuesday and Saturday, and in the opposite direction every Wednesday and Sunday. This type of Airbus can accommodate 306 passengers.
At the same time, the Czech Republic is becoming a key centre of trade and tourism in Europe for Taiwan, with a notable uptick in investment. Despite the geographical distance, Prague and Taipei are united, according to Hřib, by respect for human rights and democracy and an interest in smart technologies.
“I see the establishment of a direct flight between Prague and Taipei as a positive step. On one hand, this will boost tourism for the benefit of the city. In addition, this will strengthen the ties between the Czech Republic and the island of Taiwan,” said Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda.
The first official negotiations on the launch of a direct air route between the capitals of the Czech Republic and Taiwan took place in 2019. Zdeněk Hřib, then in the role of the mayor of Prague, discussed the direct route with the president of Taiwan, who received the delegation. The aim of this visit was, among other things, to establish cooperation in the field of modern technologies and smart city solutions and to express interest in the development of further cooperation based on mutual respect, support of liberal democracy and human rights.
In January 2020, during the visit of Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je to Prague, relations between the two cities were enhanced by a sister agreement, which meant the confirmation of cooperation in many areas, especially culture, economy, education and tourism. Hřib opened the topic of a direct air route during his visit to Taiwan in 2020 as part of the official delegation of the Czech Senat, led by Senate President Vystrčil, when a separate meeting was held with representatives of China Airlines.