ČSA Celebrate 98th Anniversary of First Flight

Photo: Alfons Mucha

It is now 98 years since Czechoslovak national airlines launched its regular service, becoming one of the world’s first air carriers.

The first flight, from Prague to Bratislava, took off on October 29, 1923. It was only 20 years after the Wright Brothers assembled the first engine-powered plane ever – finally enabling mankind to fly.

“It was an Aero A-14 Brandenburg aircraft, it was an adapted military plane that the then Czechoslovak Airlines obtained from the Defence Ministry, including military pilots who remained on the ministry’s payroll. There was only one pilot in the cockpit, Sergeant Major Karel Brabenec, and there was only one passenger on board. The plane also carried a few grams of mail, so it did not have a heavy load.”

The Bratislava flight should have been handled a day earlier, on the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia.

The weather on 28 October 1923 foiled the plans. Therefore, instead of the originally planned flight, they only performed a symbolic flight around Kbely.

Czech Airlines was formed as a state airline company and was founded as Czechoslovak State Airlines on October 6, 1923. Their first chief pilot was Karel Brabenec and the ground speed of their first aircraft was 115 km/h.

Seven years later, ČSA takes off on their first international flight to Zagreb on July 1, 1930.

In 1957 ČSA became the third of the world’s airlines to fly jet services, taking delivery/putting in service the first Tupolev Tu-104A in 1957.

ČSA was the only airline other than Aeroflot to operate the Tu-104. The service operated by the Tu-104A from 1957 between Prague and Moscow was the first jet-only connection (other airlines used both jets and piston/turboprop aircraft simultaneously).

The first transatlantic services started on 3 February 1962 with a flight to Havana, using a Bristol Britannia turboprop leased from Cubana de Aviación.

ČSA’s transatlantic flights were code-shared with Cubana’s services to Prague, and Cubana’s crews provided initial training and assistance in the operation of the Britannias.

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