The traffic trend of the Austrian Airlines Group in May continued to feel the damaging effects of the global economic downturn and the consequences of the SARS breakout. At 671,439 the figure for the number of passengers carried by the Group was 13.1 % down on the comparable month the previous year. The relatively sharp reduction in charter traffic (-29.9 %) was caused, amongst other factors, by a structural transfer to scheduled traffic. In the scheduled segment itself, the consequences of SARS became most apparent on long-haul routes. The average passenger load factor on scheduled services reduced by 2.7 percentage points to 66.6 %.
The cumulative traffic statistics for January to May 2003 show a 4.7 % fall in the number of passengers to 3.06 million passengers. The charter segment continued to grow during this period, by a healthy 8.6 %, while scheduled services carried 6.5 % fewer passengers than in the comparable period last year. At 64.7 %, the load factor on scheduled services was 2.7 percentage points lower than the figure for the previous year. In the first five months of 2003, the Group provided a total of 57,333 flights, 3.3 % fewer than were made from January to May 2002.