Austrian traffic gains support strategy change

Austrian Airlines’ focus on the short-haul and medium-haul segments has produced further increases in scheduled traffic. Chief Executive Officer Alfred ?-tsch issued the following statement on the current traffic results: “The Austrian Airlines Group carried around 7.28 million passengers on its scheduled and charter services in the first eight months of the year, increasing the passenger load factor to 75.7%. Scheduled flights, which account for around 86% of our traffic, continue to grow strongly. This result is all the more pleasing because the strong growth in the short- and medium-haul segment almost compensated for the fully effective and planned reduction in long-haul. The positive passenger load factor figures in all segments confirm that we are on the right course.”

Short- and medium-haul segment compensates for reduction in long-haul
The Austrian Airlines Group carried around 5.37 million scheduled passengers in the short- and medium-haul segment in the first eight months of 2007, 8.3% more than in the comparison period for 2006. While available seat kilometers (ASK) grew by 8.7%, revenue passenger kilometers (RPK) on these scheduled services grew more strongly, by 11.2%. The passenger load factor in this segment reached 67.1%, or 1.5 percentage points above the 2006 figure.

The summer month of August was also shaped by further passenger growth of 8.0% in the short- and medium-haul segment compared to the previous year. Revenue passenger kilometers (RPK) on scheduled services in this segment increased by an impressive 12.8% compared to 2006, while scheduled availability (ASK) rose by 8.3%. The resultant passenger load factor of 71.0% was 2.8 percentage points up on last year.

Offsetting of long-haul availability improves
In the long-haul segment, around 890,900 scheduled passengers were carried in the months from January to August 2007, 13.3% fewer than in the same period in 2006. This fall was to be expected due to the redimensioning of long-haul services. While availability on these scheduled services (ASK) was reduced according to plan by 25.0%, demand measured in revenue passenger kilometers (RPK) fell at the slower rate of 21.5%. The resultant passenger load factor in the long-haul segment was 3.7 percentage points up on the previous year, reaching 82.3%.

The Group offset its targeted reduction in long-haul market availability more successfully in August, with ASK reduced by 33.7% on 2006 and RPK down by 32.4% compared to the same period last year. This produced a further improvement in the passenger load factor, which rose by 1.6 percentage points to 84.3%.


Scheduled traffic overall continues to grow strongly
With more than 6.26 million passengers carried on scheduled services, total growth from January to August was 4.6%. The cumulative traffic result on scheduled services measured in available seat kilometers (ASK) was subjected to targeted reductions of 12.0% compared to 2006, while revenue passenger kilometers on scheduled services (RPK) only fell by 10.3% on the comparison figure for the previous year. As a result, the passenger load factor on scheduled services was 75.1%, an improvement of 1.5 percentage points on the previous year.

The Austrian Airlines Group welcomed some 843,600 passengers onto its scheduled flights in August 2007, an increase of 2.4% on 2006. While scheduled availability (ASK) was reduced by 17.1% as planned, revenue passenger kilometers (RPK) only fell by 16.6%. As a result, the passenger load factor in August was 77.4%, 0.5 percentage points up on the previous year.

Charter traffic with stable passenger load factor
The reduction in the number of passengers in this segment - as in previous months - 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 in order to strengthen profitability. Four fewer charter aircraft are used this year than in 2006, as two aircraft are 2007 in scheduled service and the other two have been in use at Slovak Airlines last year. Despite a difficult season, the company was able to successfully manage its charter availability and offset this in the market, and it proved possible to keep the healthy load factor in this segment at a stable level.