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Czech Airlines interesting partnership with KAL

The Economist Gulliver blog reported today that Korean Air has partnered with CSA, a strategy that may help both of them in Europe:

Prague offers something that larger airports cannot. Passengers are weary of the congestion and long distances between gates at the mega-hubs, as Which? highlighted. Switching planes is even more of an ordeal if you do not speak the local language. In Prague, connecting times are short and all signage is provided in Korean. Mr Moreels said the Czech capital is styling itself as a "specialised gateway or mini-hub" for Asian traffic, and he promised that Korean passengers would enjoy "special treatment" in the event of delays–a privilege the mega-hubs reserve for customers of their home carriers.

Geography is another advantage. Prague's location in the middle of Europe makes it an ideal springboard for travel to the rest of the continent, including eastern parts of Germany traditionally connected via Lufthansa's Frankfurt hub. CSA's network is not massive, but most of the spots frequented by Korean travellers are served. Interline deals and codeshares between CSA and Korean Air ensure convenient flight times. "We don't want to transfer everybody to everywhere," [CSA CEO Philippe] Moreels emphasised. "We just want to redistribute a big plane from Korea to the rest of Europe."

It's hard to find an appropriate analogy in the U.S. because our market isn't nearly as fragmented as Europe's. But if you can imagine KAL flying into St. Louis on a partnership with pre-merger TWA, that might be close.

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