Austrian Airlines reports positive first half figures

Austrian Airlines has posted first half figures showing passenger numbers were up 6.1% compared to last year. Revenue passenger kilometers (RPK) on these scheduled services rose at the above-average rate of 8%, while scheduled capacity (measured in available seat kilometers or ASK) increased by 5.7%. The passenger load factor in this segment reached 67%, rising by 1.4 percentage points compared to the figure for 2007. The second quarter went positively in this segment. Passenger growth was 4.9%, and the passenger load factor increased by 1 percentage point to 69.2%.

The month of June was effected by the European Football Championship. Although numerous special flights were operated, most of these were only fully booked in one direction. This measure led to a reduction in the passenger load factor of 1.2 percentage points compared to the previous year, to 68.4%. Capacity (ASK) in this segment increased by 5.6% in June, while revenue passenger kilometres on these scheduled services (RPK) only rose by 3.8%. The company was able to achieve an increase of 1.7% in passenger growth compared to the previous year.

Around 574,000 scheduled passengers were carried in the first half of 2008 in the long-haul segment, a 13.7% reduction on the comparable period in 2007, in line with the company’s restructuring plans. While there was a structural reduction in capacity on scheduled services of 18.9% (ASK), revenue passenger kilometers (RPK) on these same scheduled services fell by 19.5%. The passenger load factor in the long-haul segment was 80.8%, marginally down on last year, by 0.7 percentage points.

With a load factor of 81.8% in the second quarter, the company was able to achieve an increase of 0.8 percentage points. Passenger volume stood at 302,100 in this period, a 1.6% fall compared to the previous year.

Scheduled capacity (ASK) on long-haul routes in June stood at 2.8%, while revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) were 5.6% down on the respective comparable figures for the previous year. The passenger volume fell by 5.8% compared to the previous year, and the passenger load factor fell by 2.5 percentage points to 80.8%.

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Charter traffic reported a rise in load factor both in June and the first half of 2008. Around 526,000 passengers were carried from January to June on the basis of planned adjustments in capacity. The passenger load factor rose significantly in the second quarter compared to the same period in 2007, jumping by 2.5 percentage points.

Chief Executive Officer Alfred ?-tsch said, “We achieved a passenger record of more than 5.2 million passengers carried in the first half-year, and also held the passenger load factor overall stable at 74% despite the challenging surrounding conditions. The current crisis in the aviation industry, high kerosene prices and slower demand are having their effect on us too and selective capacity adjustments and seasonal reductions will be implemented in the coming months. Against the background of these developments, however, it is to our benefit that markets in Central and Eastern Europe and the Levant and Middle East are more robust and less harshly affected by the slower economic cycle. Should the aviation crisis worsen, however, we shall be forced to take further measures.”
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