Vienna Airport this week celebrated its 20-millionth passenger in 2011, the first time the airport has achieved this milestone in its history. Passenger numbers at the airport are up 7% in the first 11 months of this year, indicating that the airport might handle 21 million passengers before the year is out. This has been achieved despite the introduction back in April of a new Austrian government tax on all departing passengers, similar to the one introduced in Germany back in January.
While Vienna has continued to flourish (despite the on-going financial problems of its Lufthansa-owned national carrier Austrian), the same is not true at the country’s regional airports. Based on year-to-date traffic figures, anna.aero estimates that the non-Vienna airports will see a small decline in traffic in 2011, with only Salzburg on-track to record passenger growth this year. As a result, Vienna’s share of the Austrian air travel market will have grown from 75% in 1996 to over 81% in 2011.
Salzburg remains Austria’s second-busiest airport and is on target to handle around 1.7 million passengers this year, ahead of Innsbruck (1 million), Graz (980,000), Linz (670,000) and Klagenfurt (370,000). Since 1996, traffic at these five airports combined has grown by around 56%, while Vienna’s passenger numbers have risen by around 130%.
Lufthansa and airberlin group airlines account for 75% of capacity
Analysis of scheduled capacity data for the first week in December shows that the five leading airlines are either part of Lufthansa Group or airberlin. Austrian, Lufthansa and germanwings combined account for 57.5% of capacity, while airberlin and niki combined share a further 18.2%. The next biggest carrier is British Airways with just under 2%, which is thanks to its four daily flights from London Heathrow to Vienna, but also five-times weekly flights from London Gatwick to both Innsbruck and Salzburg.
Europe’s two biggest LCCs, Ryanair and easyJet, rank 14th and 18th in the Austrian market. Ryanair serves Graz, Klagenfurt, Linz and Salzburg, while easyJet serves Innsbruck, Salzburg and Vienna.
According to OAG data, a total of 63 airlines are currently offering scheduled services from Austrian airports including several non-European carriers such as China Airlines, Emirates, EVA Air, Iran Air, Korean Air, Qatar Airways and Royal Jordanian.
Vienna’s growing customer base
Since the beginning of the year, Vienna has seen a variety of new services launched. These include Aegean from Athens, Cirrus Airlines from Dresden, Condor to Punta Cana, People’s Viennaline to Altenrhein, SkyWork from Bern, TAP Portugal from Lisbon, Transavia.com from Rotterdam and Ural Airlines from Chelyabinsk. In addition, niki launched seasonal services to Madrid, Shannon and Valencia and year-round flights to Pristina.
For 2012, new routes already announced for Vienna include Air France to Toulouse, Estonian Air to Tallinn, Lufthansa to Berlin Brandenburg, and niki to Tel Aviv.