Updates: 03.07.2020 14:52
Prague – Last year, the airline Smartwings, as recorded a profit after tax of 133.4 million crowns, which is more than 50 million year-on-year more. CSA’s sister companies also made a profit. Smartwings announced it today. Like CSA, the company belongs to the Smartwings Group, which is now in financial difficulties due to the coronavirus crisis. The company could thus be entitled to state guarantees from the COVID Plus program, from which companies with financial problems cannot draw even before the coronavirus crisis. In recent weeks, the entire group has asked the state for a guarantee for a loan of around 800 million crowns.
Last year, the entire group achieved a turnover of 28 billion crowns, the group did not announce other figures about last year’s management.
“We consider it necessary to emphasize and reiterate that Smartwings, as was a healthy company before the coronary crisis, despite the problems caused by the grounding of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. Smartwings, as for 22 years, except for one year, which was caused by exchange rate differences , has always reported a profit, “said the company. The company found itself in a loss in 2017, when it lost over half a billion crowns. The reason was the exchange rate differences between the koruna and the dollar, which was crucial in connection with the purchases of Boeing aircraft at the time. The company also stated that CSA’s sister airlines have also been in profit since 2018, when Smartwings began participating in their management as a shareholder.
The company thus rejected the claim that it had financial problems even before the coronavirus crisis. On Thursday, CNN Prima News reported that Smartwings had a loss of $ 80 million (about CZK 1.9 billion) in 2019, which Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) allegedly stated in a letter to the American company Boeing. Smartwings had to shut down its Boeing 737 MAX aircraft last spring. The machines have been shut down worldwide due to two accidents caused by faulty software. Smartwings then owned seven of these aircraft, and another 21 was going to take over last year.
The Smartwings Group, which includes, in addition to domestic carriers, the group’s foreign divisions, is now solving problems due to shutdowns during the coronavirus crisis. The group stated that it would also need the help of the state, which asked for a guarantee for a commercial loan worth around 800 million crowns. It is now being talked about that the company should be able to draw guarantees from the COVID Plus support program, which is aimed at large companies. Through commercial banks, they can apply for loans from five million to two billion crowns, the maximum loan amount corresponds to 25 percent of the company’s annual turnover. At the beginning of this week, the group also announced that it would lay off up to 600 employees in the coming months due to difficulties.