In a press release from Austrian Airlines, several changes have been announced that are designed to realign Austrian’s focus on the markets it serves. These changes make a lot of sense in that they will be adding service on routes that have traditionally had high yields, especially coming into the busy 2012 summer tourist season.

Another change that I applaud is the decision to cease their Vienna-Mumbai route and taking the aircraft flown on that route and re-deploying it on what should be far more lucrative Middle-Eastern routes and to compete with Emirates and Etihad. With Indian carriers having enough problems with profitability and getting enough passengers aboard their aircraft, there is no reason for Austrian to fly into markets that did not yield the results that they desired.

Keep in mind that this moderate change in focus is due directly to Lufthansa’s (parent of Austrian) desire to make Austrian a profitable part of it’s portfolio of carriers. Recently, I wrote about what Lufthansa had asked Austrian to do in order to receive financial assistance in acquiring new aircraft.

Monday’s announcement serves as confirmation that Austrian is taking the steps necessary to deliver on their commitment to Lufthansa. Let hope it continues!

Here is the actual press release that Lufthansa had issued on Monday:

Austrian Airlines reinforces core markets and increases frequencies to Eastern Europe
· More flights east, as well as to London and Barcelona
· Reinforcement of Middle East by use of largest aircraft
· Flights to Tripoli resumed
· Improved connection between business locations of Klagenfurt, Linz and Vienna

East Meadow, NY, February 13, 2012 – Austrian Airlines has taken the first concrete step in its corporate strategy, the 2012 Work Programme. “From the summer of 2012 onwards, we shall sharply increase flight frequencies to our core markets in Eastern Europe, and build up capacity to the Middle East in a trade-off with the destination of Mumbai,” said Austrian’s Executive Board member Andreas Bierwirth, summarizing the key points of the new route network. Furthermore, focusing on these core markets is designed to contribute to increasing the revenue of Austrian Airlines over the long term.

The reworked route network in more detail:
· Reinforcement of Focus East and select destinations in Western Europe
This summer, Austrian Airlines will boost its number of flights in Eastern Europe. The airline will increase flights from Vienna to Bucharest from three to five times per day, and to Sofia from four to up to five times a day. In the winter schedule, the number of flights operated to Belgrade was raised from three to up to four per day. In Western Europe, Austrian Airlines will offer passengers one additional self-operated flight per day to London Heathrow, beginning this summer. Now the carrier will be flying to the British capital four times a day.

Austrian Airlines is building up its flight product to and from Barcelona by one flight a day. From 25th March 2012 onwards, an Austrian flight will be taking off for the Catalonian capital three times a day.

· Better connections between Austrian regions
Austrian Airlines will offer customers more flights within Austria: from 1st March onwards, an extra morning flight will proceed between Klagenfurt and Vienna. Now, Austrian will fly up to five times a day between Carinthia and the national capital. The extra flight to and from Linz, already introduced in the winter schedule, will remain in place in the summer schedule. Thus, Austrian Airlines will fly to and from Upper Austria up to four times a day. Connections to and from Graz, Salzburg and Innsbruck, which are already extremely well-developed, will continue to operate, as will the three flights per day the company operates to and from Altenrhein. The airline, home carrier of Austrian businesses, offers optimal connections to and from the Vienna hub, and from there to approximately 130 destinations worldwide.

· Mumbai aircraft to be used in Middle East from summer onwards
Beginning with the summer schedule, Austrian Airlines will cease its operations to and from Mumbai. Moving forward, the long-haul aircraft previously used on this route, a Boeing 767, will be deployed on flights to and from Tel Aviv and to Tehran. Austrian Airlines continues to fly six times a week to New Delhi.

· Tripoli back in flight schedule
From the summer schedule onwards, Austrian Airlines will be relaunching its flights to Libya, flying five times a week to and from Tripoli. Austrian was temporarily forced to stop flying to and from Libya in February 2011 due to political unrest in the country.

· Three times a day to Stockholm
From the summer onwards, Austrian Airlines will operate three flights a day to Stockholm. This is one trip less since the evening flight will no longer be offered.

Austrian Airlines in USA and Canada

Austrian Airlines provides its customers with a route network of 130 destinations worldwide. Passengers can take flights from either New York JFK, Washington DC or Toronto to Vienna. In Vienna, Austrian Airlines offers time-saving connections and access to over 100 destinations across Europe. In Central and Eastern Europe, the route network is particularly dense: With 46 destinations Austrian Airlines is the market leader throughout the region. Thanks to its favorable geographical location at the heart of Europe, the company’s hub at Vienna International Airport is the ideal gateway between East and West. Austrian Airlines is part of the Lufthansa Group, Europe’s largest airline group, and a member of the Star Alliance, the first global alliance of international airlines. For more information or reservations, visit