AUSTRIA. Vienna International Airport handled 19.7 million passengers in 2008, an increase of +5.2% on 2007. But parent company Flughafen Wien AG is forecasting that passenger volumes will fall by -5% in 2009, as the global economic downturn deepens.

Vienna Airport’s growth of +5.2% fell just short of its growth forecast of +6.0% for the year, but is still well above the European average (-0.1% according to ACI Europe in the period from January to November).

This growth was fuelled by a robust +6.3% rise in passengers to the Middle East and a +9.6% surge in passengers to Eastern Europe. Low-cost carrier growth was +31.3% year-on-year (4.6 million passengers in total).

Herbert Kaufmann, Member and Speaker of the Management Board of Flughafen Wien AG, said: “The aviation branch has not remained untouched by current economic developments, and Vienna International Airport is also unable to detach from these trends. However, we are well equipped to meet the coming challenges – with four strong advantages over our competitors: an ideal geographic position as a hub for Eastern Europe and the Middle East; high quality service standards as the most punctual transfer airport in Europe with a minimum connecting time of 25 minutes that is unmatched in European comparison; an attractive tariff model for airlines with our transfer incentive system; and guaranteed infrastructure capacity for the future.”

The 19.7 million passengers handled in 2008 represent an increase of 1 million over the previous year as well as the creation of roughly 1,000 new jobs at the airport site. Through the positive development of the low-cost carriers, Vienna International Airport also makes an important contribution to the tourism industry in the eastern region of Austria, the airport explained.

Top destinations in 2008
A total of 75 airlines used Vienna to travel to 187 scheduled destinations in 2008. The highest share of scheduled passengers was recorded by Frankfurt with 441,134 passengers, followed by London with 411,599 passengers and Paris with 399,016 passengers. The ranking for Eastern Europe shows Bucharest with 190,792 passengers, followed by Moscow with 182,659 and Sofia with 154,285. The most passengers on long-haul flights were recorded by Bangkok with 108,987, followed by Washington with 83,964 and Tokyo with 81,668.

A ranking of the airlines by the number of passengers carried is led by the Austrian Airlines Group with 49.6%, low-cost carrier Niki with 7.0%, Air Berlin with 6.7%, SkyEurope with 6.0% and Lufthansa with 5.2%. The average seat occupancy (charter and scheduled flights) declined from 69.2% in 2007 to 68.2%, primarily due to lower seat occupancy on charter flights.

Among the airports in which Flughafen Wien has an interest overseas, Kosice Airport recorded excellent results for 2008, with an increase of +33.3% in the number of passengers to 590,919. Malta Airport handled 3,109,643 passengers during the past year, for a rise of +4.7%.Friedrichshafen Airport recorded a slight decline of -0.9% to 649,646 passengers.



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