• Entire year 2014: More than 127,000 flights – capacity utilization up to 78.9 percent
• Fewer flights due to cancellations in crisis regions of Russia, Ukraine and the Middle East, leading to a decline in total passenger volume
• Strong growth to North America: 120,000 more passengers than in 2013
The Austrian Airlines Group operated more than 127,000 flights in the period January to December 2014, carrying approximately 11.2 million passengers. This corresponds to an average of about 348 flights and more than 30,000 passengers per day. On balance, total passenger volume in 2014 declined slightly by 1.1 percent compared to the previous year. This decrease can be attributed to flight cancellations and flight service reductions in the crisis regions of Russia, Ukraine and the Middle East. As a result, the number of flights operated by Austrian Airlines in 2014 fell by 6.4 percent, leading to a 2.5 percent drop in passenger volume in Europe. However, the number of passengers flying with Austrian Airlines on its intercontinental flights in 2014 climbed by more than 120,000 in comparison to the previous year, a rise of 7.3 percent despite the flight reduction in the Middle East. The higher passenger volume on intercontinental flights is mainly due to the capacity increase related to an additional Boeing 777 as well as the expansion of flight service to North America. On balance, the offering measured in available seat kilometers (ASK) was 3.6 percent higher than in the previous year, and revenue passenger kilometers (RPK) were up by 4.1 percent. Capacity utilization (passenger load factor) improved by 0.3 percentage points from the prior-year level to 78.9 percent.
“The crisis regions in the Middle East, Russia and the Ukraine considerably dampened demand in 2014”, says Andreas Otto, Chief Commercial Officer of Austrian Airlines. “However, the strong expansion of our offering to North America was a complete success.“
In the year 2014 as a whole, Austrian Airlines carried about 9.4 million passengers in Europe, corresponding to a decrease of 2.5 percent from the previous year. This drop is due to the political crises in the Ukraine and Russia, which in turn led to short-term flight cancellations and flight service reductions. Austrian Airlines completely terminated all flights to the destinations of Kharkov and Dnepropetrovsk in the Ukraine for close to five weeks in the summer of 2014, and reduced its offering when flight service was resumed in order to reflect the restrained level of demand. Flight service to and from Russia was also adjusted downwards in the course of 2014 to reflect declining demand. On balance, capacity measured in available seat kilometers (ASK) was reduced by 3.6 percent. Capacity utilization (passenger load factor) on European flights was down 0.5 percentage points to 76.5 percent.
Austrian Airlines carried close to 1.8 million passengers on its intercontinental flights in 2014, comprising an increase of 7.3 percent from the previous year. This passenger growth was achieved thanks to the strong expansion of flight service to North America in spite of flight cancellations and flight service reductions which were necessary as a response to the political crises in the Middle East.
The crises in the Middle East and the resulting precarious security situation led Austrian Airlines to temporarily terminate flight service to Erbil in Iraq for the most part of August. For security reasons, Austrian Airlines no longer offered flights to Baghdad in Iraq as of January 30, 2014 and to Tripoli in Libya as of March 21, 2014.
The expansion of flight service to North America succeeded very well in cushioning the flight cancellations to Middle East destinations. Accordingly, Austria’s national carrier added a new destination to its flight schedule, namely Newark, starting on July 2, 2014. In addition, it operated a larger aircraft, a Boeing 777, on its daily flights to Washington instead of a Boeing 767 as of July 1, 2014. Moreover, the number of weekly flights to Chicago was raised from five to seven as of May 2014.
On balance, capacity in available seat kilometers (ASK) on intercontinental routes was increased by 10 percent in 2014, and revenue passenger kilometers (RPK) climbed by 11.2 percent in a year-on-year comparison. The passenger load factor was up 0.8 percentage points to 81.0 percent.