Austrian Airlines will open up four key parts of Central and Eastern Europe over the coming year with flights to Jekaterinburg in Russia, Donetsk in Ukraine, Iasi in Romania and Pecs in Hungary.
The company’s Eastern European route network will cover a total of 44 destinations in 23 different countries once the new cities have been integrated.
Scheduled flights to existing destinations such as Kiev, Odessa, Lviv are also set to increase extensively. In the Far East, flights to Beijing and Shanghai will operate on a daily basis in future, while in North America up to twelve flights a week will depart for New York and connections between Vienna and Toronto will increase to one a day.
Austrian Chief Executive Officer Vagn Soerensen issued the following statement on the company’s 2006 summer schedule: ‘By expanding our core traffic region of Eastern Europe, we remain true to our corporate vision of being the most successful European airline flying east.
With 44 destinations in the dynamic growth region of Eastern Europe alone, we can now increase our market leadership, particularly since the new expansion will enable us to take on even more secondary destinations.’
Dr. Josef E. Burger, Chief Comemrcial Officer, explained the planned expansion in greater detail: ‘Jekaterinburg, Donetsk, Iasi and Pecs are important industrial centres in the countries in question, all of which are seeking a connection into a global route network.
“Our expertise in the development of new markets will enable us to provide these ambitious commercial regions with connections into our global route network, which consists of 130 destinations in 66 countries on every continent,” he explained.
“Where other carriers find themselves struggling to build a serious presence in the capital cities of Eastern Europe, we are now way ahead of them in a series of ambitious and exciting new regions there.”
“The vast state of Russia, for instance, does not merely consist of Moscow alone, and new markets are simply waiting to be opened up well outside more traditional regional focal points such as Kiev, Bucharest or Sofia.”
Jekaterinburg and its surrounds are at the heart of the Urals, and the third most important economic region in the country after Moscow and St. Petersburg. As a major industrial centre, Jekaterinburg is one of the largest transport hubs in the Urals region, and a key location along the Trans-Siberian Railway.
From 27 March 2006 onwards, Austrian will operate three services a week to this Russian city, home to around one million people, using a Boeing 737. Still in Russia, Austrian will also be increasing its frequencies to Krasnodar from three to four flights a week. A further increase in the number of Austrian flights serving the cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg is currently the object of intense negotiations.
With 1.6 million inhabitants, Donetsk is one of the largest cities in Ukraine, and now becomes the sixth Austrian Airlines destination to be served in the country, which is larger in size than France. From March 2006 onwards, this economic centre will be connected with Vienna three times a week.
Iasi in eastern Romania will become the fifth Romanian destination to be integrated into the Austrian route network, after Bucharest, Timisoara, Cluj and Sibiu.
The flight connection between Iasi and an international turntable like Vienna has been demanded and supported. by the local community for quite some time. A service consisting of six connections a week will be launched in March 2006.
Thanks to further increases in capacity, Sibiu will be served by direct flights from the summer of 2006 onwards. With Romania poised to accede to the European Union and Austria its largest direct investor, the Austrian Airlines Group has now positioned itself perfectly with destinations across the country in advance of Romania’s membership.
Connecting flights to Ukraine are to be expanded across the board together with route partner Ukraine International (UIA). Austrian will now be adding a further three frequencies a week to its existing daily service to Odessa, increasing availability to a new total of ten flights a week.
The number of flights operating to the capital Kiev will be raised to 25 every week, and there will be six services a week to Lviv in future instead of the current four. Dnepropetrovsk will remain a daily service as previously, and the city of Kharkov will be served four times a week. An all-cargo service between Vienna and Kiev will also be provided four times a week in collaboration with route partner Ukraine International Airlines, with each flight offering capacity of 20 tons.
Pecs is Hungary’s fifth-largest city, a major railway hub and the centre of an industrial region. The city also has a great deal to offer the tourist sector, enjoys a warm climate and a decidedly Mediterranean atmosphere. Pecs will also be integrated into the Austrian route network from 26 March 2006, with services operating four times a week on a Dash 8-300 aircraft.
Subject to government authorisation, the city of Podgorica in Montenegro will be served six times a week in future rather than four times a week as at present.
Long-haul and Middle East
Focus East connections are also being increased to the Middle and Far East regions. In the summer high season, from May or June onwards, Beijing and Shanghai will be served by daily flights. Our non-stop connection to the holiday destination of Phuket launched in the current winter schedule will now be provided in the summer months also. In North America, meanwhile, the flight schedule is also to increase: services to Toronto will be raised to a daily frequency during high season, while twelve flights a week will operate to New York.
To meet rising demand, and with traffic rights having been granted, Austrian Airlines will now operate two flights a day to the city of Tel Aviv from summer 2006. When flights operated together with code share route partner EL AL are taken into consideration, Austrian now offers a choice of up to 20 departures a week to Israel’s largest city.