Austrian targeting profitability in 2011; sees permanent structural change in Europe
Austrian Airlines co-CEO, Andreas Bierwirth, stated the carrier plans to return to profitability in 2011 by restructuring its fleet, cutting costs and increasing productivity (Dow Jones, 06-Oct-2009). Mr Bierwirth also stated he believes the deteriorating passenger trends on the carrier’s long-haul and Central/Eastern Europe network have bottomed out. However, the carrier stated it would no longer focus on niche markets in Eastern Europe, but rather fight for a stronger position in large-volume catchment areas in both Eastern and Western Europe in the future.
The carrier’s other co-CEO, Peter Malanik, cautioned that demand will not return to previous levels at the end of the current economic crisis, with pressures from LCCs continuing to be high and many Business passengers downgrading to Economy travel on a permanent basis. Mr Malanik stated the carrier “will have to reduce the price per seat significantly going ahead”, by targeting high-passenger volume markets and replacing smaller aircraft with larger Airbus aircraft. He added this fleet shift is planned for 2010.