With around 8.2 million scheduled passengers, the Austrian Airlines Group has reported a solid increase of 8.4% in the short- and medium-haul segment in the year 2007 compared to 2006. Chief Executive Officer Alfred ?-tsch said the following about the annual result: “With a total of 10.8 million passengers carried in 2007 and an increased load factor compared to 2006, we remain completely on course. As planned, we have been able to compensate in full for the reduction in long-haul through our expansion in the short- and medium-haul route segment. In 2008, we will continue to concentrate not only on our Focus East strategy, with new destinations and expansions of existing frequencies in the East, but also on the service and quality offensive, with the planned Premium Service Concept due in the autumn of this year.”
The expansion in capacity of 8.5% (measured in available seat kilometers or ASK) was balanced by disproportionately high growth in revenue passenger kilometers (RPK) of 11.1%. The passenger load factor stood at 67.7% as a result, an increase of 1.6 percentage points on the 2006 figure.
Austrian reported another increase in its passenger numbers in the short- and medium-haul segment in the month of December, with strong passenger growth of 8.7% compared to the previous year. Revenue passenger kilometers on these scheduled services (RPK) increased by a clear 11.6% compared to 2006, while scheduled capacity (ASK) expanded by 10.7%. The resultant passenger load factor stood at 63.6%, an increase of 0.5 percentage points on the previous year.
Long-haul capacity successfully offset in market
Around 1.3 million passengers were carried on long-haul scheduled routes in 2007, 16.4% fewer passengers than in 2006. This planned fall was due to the targeted redimensioning of the long-haul segment that has now been completed. Despite the planned reduction in capacity of 28.0% (ASK), demand measured in revenue passenger kilometers (RPK) fell at the slower rate of 25.2%. This resulted in a significant improvement in the load factor in the long-haul segment compared to 2006, which rose by 3.1 percentage points to 82.2%.
Long-haul route capacity (ASK) was selectively reduced by 38.3% in the market in December, while the reduction in revenue passenger kilometers (RPK) was just 38.0% compared to the same period in 2006. This produced a further improvement of 0.4 percentage points in the passenger load factor, which now stands at 77.1%.
Scheduled traffic (short-/medium- and long-haul) for 2007 above previous year
The Austrian Airlines Group carried around 9.5 million passengers on scheduled services in 2007 overall, an increase of 4.2% on the number carried in the comparison period in 2006. Taken cumulatively, capacity on scheduled services (ASK) was reduced on by 13.9% compared to 2006. The figure for revenue passenger kilometers on scheduled services (RPK) fell at the slower rate of 12.7%, however, below the comparison figure for the previous year. The passenger load factor for scheduled services increased by 1.0 percentage points on 2006 as a result, and now stands at 75.1%.
The Austrian Airlines Group welcomed around 695,000 passengers onto its scheduled flights in December 2007, generating a clear increase of 2.2% compared to December 2006. While capacity on scheduled services (ASK) was reduced as planned by 19.5%, revenue passenger kilometers (RPK) fell by 21.2%. The passenger load factor stood at 70.0% in December, slightly down on the previous year’s figure, by 1.5 percentage points.
Charter segment well-positioned in 2007 with improved load factor
In 2007, the load factor for charter traffic grew by 1.3 percentage points compared to 2006, to reach 78.6%. While several long-haul charter chains were operating from November onwards in 2006, on the other hand, a weekly flight to Punta Cana only went into service from 19 December 2007, so producing structural falls in the load factor.
The reduction in the number of passengers in this segment in 2007 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 an effort to strengthen profitability. A total of four fewer charter aircraft were used on charter services in 2007 compared to 2006, with two deployed 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.