Austrian finds shorter haul balance

16th Nov 2007

Austrian Airlines’ traffic result indicates that the strong growth in the short- and medium-haul segment has been able to compensate for the planned reduction in long-haul routes. The Austrian Airlines Group carried approximately 9.3 million passengers in total on scheduled and charter services between the beginning of the year and October and increased its load factor to 76.1%.

The positive load factor in all segments confirms that the company has adopted the right course with its Focus East strategy, the completed redimensioning of long-haul and the ongoing service and quality offensive.

Short- and medium-haul segment continues to compensate for long-haul reduction
With around 6.9 million scheduled passengers, the Austrian Airlines Group reported an increase of 8.1% in the short- and medium-haul segment in the first ten months of this year compared to the same period in 2006. The expansion in capacity of 8.1% (measured in available seat kilometers or ASK) was balanced by disproportionately high growth in revenue passenger kilometers (RPK) of 10.8%. The passenger load factor stood at 68.2% as a result, an increase of 1.6 percentage points on the previous year’s figure.

The Group also achieved an increase of 7.9% in passenger numbers in the short- and medium-haul segment in October compared to the previous year. Revenue passenger kilometers on these scheduled services (RPK) increased by a clear 10.5% compared to 2006, while scheduled capacity (ASK) expanded by 6.3%. The resultant passenger load factor stood at 70.9%, an increase of 2.7 percentage points on the comparable period in 2006.

Long-haul capacity successfully offset in the market
Around 1.1 million passengers were carried on long-haul scheduled routes from January to October 2007, 15.1% fewer passengers than in the same period in 2006. This planned fall was due to the redimensioning of the long-haul segment that has now been completed. Despite the planned reduction in capacity of 26.4% (ASK), demand measured in revenue passenger kilometers (RPK) fell at the slower rate of 23.6%. This resulted in a significant improvement in the load factor in the long-haul segment, which rose by 3.1 percentage points to 82.4% compared to last year.


Long-haul route capacity (ASK) was selectively reduced by 33.7% in October, and more successfully offset in the market, with a reduction of just 32.5% in revenue passenger kilometers (RPK). This produced a further improvement of 1.4 percentage points in the passenger load factor, which now stands at 82.8%.

Scheduled services overall continue on upward trend
Overall, the Austrian Airlines Group carried more than 8.0 million passengers from January to the end of October, an increase of 4.2% on the number carried in the comparison period in 2006. Taken cumulatively, capacity on scheduled services was reduced by 13.0% (ASK) compared to 2006. The figure for revenue passenger kilometers on scheduled services (RPK) fell at the slower rate of 11.7% compared to the previous year. The passenger load factor increased by 1.2 percentage points on 2006 as a result, and now stands at 75.6%.

The Austrian Airlines Group welcomed around 865,000 passengers onto its scheduled flights in October 2007, generating a clear increase of 3.1% compared to 2006. While capacity on scheduled services (ASK) was reduced as planned by 17.5%, revenue passenger kilometers (RPK) fell at the slower rate of just 16.9%. The passenger load factor stood at 76.6% in October, a slight increase of 0.6% percentage points on the previous year’s figure.

Charter traffic with improved load factor
From January to October 2007, the load factor for charter traffic grew by 1.5 percentage points compared to the same period the previous year to reach 79.4%. The load factor for October 2007 improved sharply compared to the figure for October 2006, rising by 4.0 percentage points to 75.0%.

The reduction in the number of passengers in this segment - as in previous months - was a result partly of structural effects (Slovak Airlines being included in the comparable figures for 2006), and partly of the targeted reduction in capacity implemented on medium- and long-haul routes in order to strengthen profitability. A total of four fewer charter aircraft have been used on charter services this year compared to 2006, with two operated on scheduled routes and the other two originally in use at Slovak Airlines. Despite a difficult year, charter capacity was well managed and successfully offset in the market.


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