Austrian Airlines passengers reduced, predicts worse to come

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Austrian Airlines last week reported a dip in traveller numbers on board their airline for the full year 2008 of 1.1%, with the biggest fall taking place in December which saw an 11.4% drop.

Long-haul numbers suffered the worst, with only 1.2 million passengers carried for the whole year, 9.4% lower than the full 2007 figure.  Capacity on long-haul was also cut by 12.2%.

“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,” said Alfred Ötsch, Austrian CEO.

“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,” he adds.

Austrian notes that Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East were still able to report passenger increases for the year as a whole.

In December alone, Austrian Airlines carried 647,000 passengers, achieving load factors of 70.1% edging up 0.2 from the same month in 2007 due to capacity reductions of 6.7%.

Currently, the struggling airline is awaiting European Commission approval for a buyout from Lufthansa.

Source = e-Travel Blackboard: W.X
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