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Austrian Airlines is the national airline of Austria and is based at Vienna International Airport. Along with its regional subsidiary, Tyrolean Airways, and charter arm, Lauda Air, the carrier operates both domestic and international networks, particularly to Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
On 1-Jul-2012, as part of its restructuring and cost reduction programme, Austrian transferred all of its mainline services to Tyrolean. At least 110 pilots refused the transfer, accepting instead very generous redundancy terms. The carrier continues to operate under the Austrian Airlines AOC and under the Austrian brand.
Austrian Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance.
Location of Austrian Airlines main hub (Vienna International Airport)
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All Nippon Airways and Lufthansa have allocated the four lucrative slots they collectively received for service to Tokyo's Haneda airport. All four slots will be used to shift existing services at Narita to Haneda, although ANA will add a Narita-Dusseldorf service independent of the Haneda slot allocation. This will further grow ANA and Lufthansa's share of the Germany-Japan market to 89%, with the balance held by Japan Airlines.
Of the 11 Haneda slots awarded to ANA, only five will be used for new services while five replace Narita services and one slot (to China) remains unallocated. This is a better result than European carriers, which received six slots but will use only one for new growth.
Overall the Japan-Europe market will grow 4% in northern summer 2014. ANA is driving growth, but this is hard to pin on its success in receiving Haneda slots; theoretically the growth could have occurred without the slots. Whether or not limited Haneda slots offer a serious constraint, the next two fastest growing carriers in the Japan-Europe market are Turkish Airlines and KLM, which received no Haneda slots and are not part of a joint venture.
The recent decision by Lufthansa to end its codeshare agreement with Turkish Airlines (THY) came as a surprise to most observers. Talks between the two carriers over the past 18 months had been seeking closer co-operation, a prospect that had even been discussed by the respective heads of government of Germany and Turkey.
However, the strong growth of THY in Germany has led to imbalances in their relationship. In particular, THY now has a strong presence in secondary German cities away from Lufthansa’s Frankfurt and Munich strongholds. This has undermined Lufthansa’s strategy of funnelling Asia-bound traffic from secondary markets via its hubs as THY increasingly offers an alternative connection via Istanbul.
With fares that Lufthansa cannot match, one of the world’s biggest networks and a product that continues to win plaudits, THY has become a formidable competitor to Lufthansa and its group companies in spite of also being a Star Alliance partner.
Etihad's announcement that it was buying 33.3% of Switzerland-based Darwin Airline was made on the first day of the Dubai Airshow and was easily lost in the fury of orders announced that day.
Darwin only flies aircraft with 50 seats, less than the number of premium seats that will be on many of the 350-plus widebody aircraft Gulf carriers ordered at the airshow. But the announcement is significant, and three reasons stand out.
First, for Etihad the carrier will "connect the dots" in Europe for itself and partners, linking hubs but also tertiary cities, which have largely been passed over by Gulf carriers. Many of these cities are served by the Lufthansa Group. This gives rise to the second significant impact: on Europe's legacy carriers. Gulf carriers changed their long-haul business while European LCCs decimated short-haul. Regional traffic was always typically a burden, and will come under further pressure following Etihad's announcement. Third is that Darwin Airline will re-brand as "Etihad Regional", and Etihad openly states Darwin is only the first carrier to use this new brand. As the industry still digests Etihad's partnership and equity strategy, Etihad promises to change another component of aviation – and raise the stakes in the liberalisation of the industry, especially by stamping its name on a European carrier.
Lufthansa’s 3Q2013 profit numbers all fall, but there is ‘clear improvement’: how to understand this
Lufthansa does not make it easy for the casual observer to understand its financial results. It has three different figures for what is generally called operating profit: ‘EBIT’, ‘operating result’ and ‘normalised operating result’, plus a fourth indicator, ‘adjusted operating margin’. Here is how we paraphrase Lufthansa’s 3Q2013 results communications.
“Underlying profitability is moving in the right direction, in spite of weak currency-affected yields. The SCORE restructuring programme is starting to have a positive effect, but is also bringing one-off costs. The transfer to Germanwings should lead to a profit in short-haul for the first time in five years and Austrian should report an operating profit for the first time since we bought it. Our 2013 operating profit should be EUR600 million to EUR700 million and SCORE should take us to our 2015 target operating profit of EUR2.3 billion. We should have a better view next year, when restructuring and product improvement costs reduce, but our recent aircraft order shows our confidence in the future. Trust us for now”.
Lufthansa chairman and CEO Christoph Franz told Bloomberg (9-Oct-2013) that his airline is in discussions with Star alliance partner Air China over a possible commercial joint venture to allow for better connections between Europe and China: “In the future, we will not only link our mutual hubs, but it will be important to also have direct links between major European markets and Air China’s hubs, and the other way round.”
China is an important market for Lufthansa, which already operates joint ventures with partners on routes to North America and Japan. It has a long history of collaboration with Air China in various forms, albeit often with an underlying competitive tension. A new JV would require the two to align their goals in the Europe-China market and could bring the portion of Lufthansa’s ASKs operated under such partnerships close to one half.
On 30-Sep-2013, Austrian Airlines (AUA) celebrated its 56th anniversary of commencing operations in 1957. It also recently passed its biennial Star Alliance audit with what it said were the best results in its history and its parent Lufthansa confirmed that it expects it to return to profit in 2013 for the first time since 2007.
But looking beneath the surface of this birthday re-spray, there might just be some wrinkles on its skin.
A Sep-2013 court ruling questions the legality of AUA’s 2012 transfer of flight operations to its Tyrolean Airways subsidiary. AUA is appealing the decision and the transfer remains effective pending the outcome. This radical move, aimed at lowering staff costs, was part of the vital restructuring necessary to restore profitability. Some two weeks after this court ruling, Lufthansa announced a major widebody order that did not include aircraft for AUA.
The two events may not be directly related, but serve as a reminder that the success of AUA’s restructuring must surely be a pre-condition for any major additions to its fleet.
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