A taxi driver burnt to death in his car near Prague’s Malostranská metro station after losing control of the vehicle and hitting a street lamp in the early hours of Monday. An eyewitness says he ran to help the man but the door was stuck and the car was engulfed in flames within seconds. The fire spread to a nearby traffic stand before firefighters got the situation under control. The cause of the accident is being investigated.
There was a story in the news lately about a new mobile phone app to help people avoid paying for public transport in Prague and some other Czech cities. Called FareBandit, it allows users to share information about the whereabouts of inspectors. The app won a local industry award, and the subject received quite of a lot of attention. But it instantly struck me as being one of those ideas that’s only “cute” for the short period it takes you to actually think about it.
The Czech carrier ČSA on Friday cancelled one of its Prague- Düsseldorf flights due to a strike by security personnel at several German airports. The strike could also affect other flights between Prague, Düsseldorf and Cologne, operated by ČSA and the German airline Lufthansa, a spokeswoman for Prague’s Václav Havel Airport said.
The Czech police on Friday closed down border crossings between the Czech Republic and Slovakia for heavy trucks heading to Hungary and Slovenia due to poor weather conditions in those countries. Heavy snow and strong winds are complicating traffic on Slovenian and Hungarian roads. A police spokeswoman said it was not clear when the border crossings would re-open.
In Business News this week: Korean Airlines are to acquire a 44 percent stake in ČSA; Česká Spořitelna planning lay-offs despite high profits; despite efforts to find new markets, the Czech economy remains heavily dependent on export to EU states and two Prague restaurants hold onto their Michelin stars.
A Boeing 737-800 operated by the Czech charter company Travel Service drove off the runway upon landing in the Katowice airport in southern Poland on Tuesday evening. None of the 185 people on board, who were returning from Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt, were injured. The front wheel of the plane ended up in muddy soil, and the airport was closed down until ground crew was able to remove the plane from the runway.
The government has approved the sale of a 44-percent share of the state-owned Czech Airlines to Korean Air for 67.5 million crowns. Finance Minister, Miroslav Kalousek, underlined the strategic significance of the sale, saying that Korean Air is planning to make Prague one of its European hubs, which would bring more business both for the currently loss-making Czech Airlines and for Prague airport. Korean Air and Czech Airlines already operate direct code-share flights between Prague and Seoul four times a week. The cabinet is set to sign the official contract with Korean Air on 9 April.
In Business this week: Korean Airlines bid for a 44 percent stake in the Czech national carrier Czech Airlines, hackers attack the websites of leading Czech banks and the Prague Stock Exchange, there has been a further growth in unemployment and a drop in spirits sales in the wake of last year’ s methanol poisonings.
Korean state airlines Korean Air are currently the only interested party in the purchase of the loss-making state-owned Czech Airlines. Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek said on Wednesday that Korean Air has offered 2.64 milion Euros, or around 67.5 million crowns, for a 44-percent stake in the company. The offer was "appropriate" in terms of price, and the size of the share and had a significant strategic value, said Mr Kalousek. The cabinet, which made an unsuccessful attempt to sell the airlines in 2009, will make the final decision on the sale in the second half of April.