Austrian faces uncertain future; will planned capacity growth of 5% for this summer be implemented?

Photograph of a Lufthansa/Austrian Airlines cake.

We know Peter works for both Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines (hence the red uniform), and he has a birthday every year. Apart from that we have no idea what his job is, although he might be wondering just how much longer he will be working for both companies.

Having given up on bmi British Midland and decided to sell the airline to British Airways’ owner IAG, Lufthansa appears to be getting increasingly frustrated with another of its wholly-owned subsidiaries, Austrian Airlines. Amid a management shake-up and rumours about the airline’s future has decided to see what can be learned from looking at the airline’s network evolution during the last 12 months.

Austrian at Vienna Change in weekly seat capacity (June 12 v June 11)

Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 4 June 2012 and w/c 6 June 2011. Figures in brackets are weekly seats during w/c 4 June 2012

Comparing the first weeks of June in 2012 and 2011 reveals that Austrian Airlines intends to add around 5% more seats to its Vienna-based network. Among the top 15 country markets, just three (Italy, Russia and Sweden) have seen a reduction in capacity. The airline has dropped daily flights to Milan Linate (last November), and reduced frequency on Stockholm flights from four per day to three per day.

Growth in Central and Eastern Europe

The German market, which accounts for almost twice as many weekly seats as any other is relatively unchanged with modest growth of 2% planned. Similarly the Swiss market is relatively unchanged. However, the Austrian domestic market sees growth of 10% thanks to additional flights to Klagenfurt and Linz.

There is significant planned capacity growth on routes from Vienna to Belgrade, Bucharest, Pristina and Sofia, highlighting the airline’s shift once more, towards focussing on destinations in Central and Eastern Europe. The 26% growth in the Spanish market is accounted for by an additional (third) daily frequency to Barcelona.

This summer sees the end of services to Mumbai a route which has been in and out of the airline’s network. The route was first dropped in March 2009 but then re-introduced in October 2010. Now it is being dropped once more.

In recent years other destinations that have been cut from Austrian’s network include Ankara (March 2009), Baia Mare (February 2009), Chicago O’Hare (October 2008), Dresden (January 2011), Ekaterinburg (March 2010), Hannover (October 2009), Helsinki (November 2011), Jeddah (December 2009), London City (August 2008), Luxembourg (October 2008), Milan Linate (November 2011), Odessa (March 2010), and Riga (October 2008). However, this summer Austrian will still be operating non-stop from Vienna to almost 120 destinations spread across 50 countries. With Lufthansa’s ever-growing hub in Munich (just 350 kilometres away), the need for another Lufthansa group hub in that part of Europe appears far from proven.


  1. Arthur Dent says:

    Airline reports that Adler/Sochi, Donetsk and Gothenburg routes to be axed soon as part of latest network strategy.

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