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Economic Slump In Final Quarter Of 2008 Shapes Full Year Traffic Result Of Austrian Airlines Group: 10.7 Million Passengers, Overall Load Factor 75.2%


Traffic result of Austrian Airlines Group, full year 2008

Austrian Chief Executive Officer Alfred Ötsch said the following about the annual result: “With 10.7 million passengers carried in total in 2008, we were facing a slight reduction compared to 2007. As a result of the global economic crisis, a downward trend set in during the final quarter of 2008 in particular – on top of the seasonal fluctuation in winter flight traffic – prompting us to make capacity adjustments. It can safely be assumed that the sharp drop in demand, which was noticeable in November and December, will continue in the months to come. A comparison of individual traffic regions shows that only the Focus East regions – Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East – were able to report passenger increases for the year as a whole. This confirms that we are on the right path with our strategy.”

Short- and medium-haul segment
With around 8.2 million scheduled passengers in the short- and medium-haul segment, the Austrian Airlines Group reported a plus of 1.1% in the full year 2008 compared to the 2007 figure. The increase in passengers in the Focus East region, at 6.2%, was particularly sharp. While expanding its capacity in the short- and medium-haul segment by 3.2%, the company increased the revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) generated on these scheduled services by 3.1%. At 67.6%, the passenger load factor remained stable compared to the preceding year.

In the month of December, the Austrian Airlines Group suffered a 6.0% fall in the number of passengers carried in this segment compared to the same period in 2007. Compared to other traffic regions, the Focus East Region reported the lowest reduction, at 3.4%, while the rest of Europe saw a drop in passenger volume of 7.5%. While it proved possible to keep capacity in the short- and medium-haul segment as a whole (ASK) relatively stable, revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) on these scheduled services fell by 1.1%. The passenger load factor on short- and medium-haul routes stood at 62.9% overall, slightly (0.6 percentage points) below the comparable figure for 2007.

Long-haul segment
In the long-haul scheduled services segment, some 1.2 million passengers were transported in the year 2008 as a whole. Due to the targeted long-haul redimensioning undertaken by the company, this figure was some 9.4% lower than that for the preceding year. Capacity was reduced by 12.2%, with revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) falling accordingly by 12.4%. As a result, it proved possible to keep the passenger load factor relatively stable, at 82.0%.

Looked at for the month of December alone, capacity on long-haul routes was cut back by 14%, due in particular to the cancellation of the route to Chicago. Revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) fell at the disproportionately low level of just 11.4%. It was even possible to increase the load factor by 2.4 percentage points, to 79.5%.

Overall consideration of scheduled services (short-, medium- and long-haul) for 2008
With an approximate total of 9.4 million passengers carried on scheduled services, the Austrian Airlines Group reported a slight reduction in volume of 0.3%. Viewed cumulatively, the level of scheduled capacity (ASK) was reduced in a targeted manner, by 4.7% compared to 2007. Accordingly, revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) fell by 5.6%. The resultant load factor fell by 0.7 percentage points, to 74.4%.

The Austrian Airlines Group transported some 647,000 passengers on its scheduled services in December 2008 (-6.9% compared to December 2007). The passenger load factor was increased by 0.2 percentage points in December, to 70.1%, thanks to a reduction in capacity on scheduled services (ASK) of 6.7%.

Charter services
1.3 million passengers were transported on charter services in 2008, a 6.3% fall on the previous year. Capacity was reduced by 10%, with revenue passenger kilometres falling by the disproportionately low figure of 7.1%. It even proved possible to increase the load factor by 2.5 percentage points, to 81%.

10.9% fewer passengers were carried in December 2008 than during the same period the previous year. Capacity was reduced by 10.4% in line with the company’s restructuring plans, while revenue passenger kilometres fell by the disproportionately low figure of only 6.9%. This resulted in a load factor of 63%, 2.3 percentage points higher than the preceding year.


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