Vienna passes 20 million mark and increases its share of Austrian traffic to over 81% despite new government tax

Vienna Airport’s joint CEOs Dr Günther Ofner (left) and Julian Jäger (right) yesterday presented the airport’s 20-millionth passenger; Josef Kunik and family with a cheque for 250 Euros.

Along with Austrian Airlines’ crew member (yes, their uniform really is that red!), Vienna Airport’s joint CEOs Dr Günther Ofner (left) and Julian Jäger (right) yesterday greeted the airport’s 20-millionth passenger; Josef Kunik with family who were travelling to St Petersburg. The 20-million mark is a record for Vienna Airport, which is increasing its market share among Austrian airports and may handle as many as 21 million passengers by the end of the year.

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.

Austrian airports traffic 1996-2011 Annual passengers (millions)

Source: Airport reports, 2011 forecast figures by

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, 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.

Top 12 airlines in Austria Capacity share of international scheduled services

Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 5 December 2011

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, 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.


  1. rX says:

    A great analysis, thanks. However, it also illustrates how pointless an analysis can be for a Central European country surrounded by 5 other countries for which VIE is important in the “border-free” Schengen area.

    In particular, it might be worth pointing out that this growth is strongly influenced by the fact that VIE is also a de facto national airport for Slovakia (while BTS functions as a low-cost terminal for the Vienna area, serving Ryanair and now also Norwegian). And, except for East Slovakia, which still has regular airlines flying to Kosice (KSC), all the others fly from VIE (and some from BUD).

    It might be interesting to perform a similar analysis for the Austria, Slovakia, Hungary and Czech Republic airports together. One trend would be clear: Slovakia and Czech Rep.’s airports are losing passengers since the demise of the borders, as Vienna and Budapest are attracting a lot of cross-border passengers.

Comments are closed