Austrian Airlines Group has unveiled a record passenger volume of more than 5.08 million passengers carried in the first half-year and increases in the passenger load factor of all segments.Amongst a range of encouraging performance figures, the highlight remains passenger volume in the short- and medium-haul scheduled traffic, which registered an increase of 8.1% compared to the previous year. In addition to this, the load factor on long-haul services showed a significant upward trend: compared to the first six months of 2006, the result for the first half-year of 2007 improved strongly, rising by 4.5 percentage points.
Chief Executive Officer Alfred ?-tsch reviews the past six months: “The record number of passengers carried and increases in our load factor figures in the first half-year are encouraging us to continue in our present overall direction. Our clear Focus East strategy and resultant concentration on the dynamic business region of Central and Eastern Europe have enabled us to create a highly successful ‘first mover’ role, specialising in opening up and expanding previously unexploited high-revenue short- and medium-haul destinations. Another factor in the positive traffic result in the first half-year has been our quality and service offensive, which our customers appreciated a lot.”
Strong growth in short- and medium-haul segment
The Austrian Airlines Group carried some 3.8 million scheduled passengers in the short- and medium-haul segment in the first half-year, a rise of 8.1% on the comparison period in 2006. While availability (ASK) grew by 9.0%, revenue passenger kilometers on scheduled services (RPK) grew more strongly, by 10.8%. The passenger load factor in this segment reached 65.5%, or 1.1 percentage points above the 2006 figure.
June 2007 also saw stable passenger growth of 5.0% in the short- and medium-haul segment compared to June 2006. Revenue passenger kilometers (RPK) on scheduled services in this segment increased by 6.7% compared to 2006, while scheduled availability (ASK) grew by 6.1%. The resultant passenger load factor of 69.0% was 0.4 percentage points up on last year.
Significant improvement in long-haul load factor
In the long-haul segment, around 664,200 scheduled passengers were carried in the months from January to June 2007, 9.5% fewer than in the same period in 2006. This drop was due to the redimensioning of long-haul services. While availability on these scheduled services (ASK) was reduced according to plan by 22.0%, revenue passenger kilometers (RPK) fell by just 17.5%. The passenger load factor in the long-haul segment was 4.5 percentage points up on the previous year, reaching 81.4%.
The Group succeeded in offsetting its targeted reduction in long-haul market availability more intensively in June, with ASK reduced by 32.3% on 2006 and RPK down by just 26.3% compared to the same period last year. This produced a clear improvement in passenger load factor of 6.7 percentage points, to 82.4%.
Overall scheduled traffic continuing to increase
The cumulative traffic result in the first six months of 2007, measured in revenue passenger kilometers on scheduled services (RPK), was 7.9% below the comparison figure for the previous year, while scheduled availability (ASK) on specific services was cut by 10.2% compared to 2006. The resultant passenger load factor on scheduled services stood at 74.1%, or 1.9 percentage points above the level for the previous year. With more than 4.5 million passengers carried on scheduled services, the first half-year saw growth of 5.1%.
The Austrian Airlines Group welcomed 835,300 passengers onto its scheduled flights in June 2007, an increase of 1.8% on 2006. As planned, a targeted reduction in scheduled availability (ASK: -17.3%) was successfully offset (RPK: -14.2%), which produced an important rise in the passenger load factor of 2.8 percentage points compared to June 2006, to 75.7%.
Charter traffic as a proportion of total passenger volume totalled approximately 11% in the first half-year. The reduction in the number of passengers in this segment was a result of structural effects (Slovak Airlines being included in the comparison figures for 2006) and a targeted reduction in availability, on medium- and long-haul routes, to strengthen profitability. The load factor also improved in this segment.