Vienna Airport: "too expensive" for Ryanair, but Eurowings & easyJet lead LCC driven growth

Passenger numbers at Vienna Airport grew by 2.5% in 2016 – a modest rate, but its highest since 2012. Restructuring by the Lufthansa owned Austrian Airlines, the airport's biggest airline, and a reputation for high fees, have constrained Vienna's passenger growth rate. Ryanair has called the airport "too expensive".

Nevertheless, the growth in traffic in 2016 was mainly driven by LCCs, particularly Eurowings (another Lufthansa Group company) and easyJet, more than offsetting reduction of its presence by the airport's number two airline, NIKI. LCC share at Vienna remains low by European standards, but it is growing.

The restructuring of airberlin, the airport's number three airline and effectively in operational control of NIKI, leads to uncertainty over the capacity plans of these two airlines in 2017.

However, another year of growth looks likely for Vienna, mainly driven by European routes (although the airport has ambitions to develop its long haul offer. Austrian is to return to more significant levels of capacity growth, particularly in Europe, and both Eurowings and easyJet are also planning further increases this year. Eurowings established its first non German base at Vienna only in Oct-2015, and could become the airport's number two carrier in 2017.

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