As fuel price increases have encouraged airlines to fly larger aircraft on short-haul routes, Austria’s Salzburg Airport has found itself handling far fewer flights even as passenger traffic has shown a slight increase. Over the past two years, traveler numbers have increased by about 2.5 percent, while movements at the airport–named for Salzburg-born composer W. A. Mozart–have fallen by 15 percent.
Increasing competition and pressure on costs has led to some deep restructuring of European airlines, with an attendant move to higher-capacity aircraft and absorption of many regional carriers into national carriers.
Last week’s ILA airshow in Berlin did little to bolster backlogs of airliner orders, beyond the pair of ATR 72-600s that the regional aircraft maker sold to Austrian carrier InterSky. The $47 million deal will see the first of the 70-seaters delivered in December and the second in March.
The Austrian government has decided to sell its share of Austrian Airlines and has published advertisements in the financial press offering its 42.75-percent share of the flag carrier. The government has attached a number of conditions to the sale, including an obligation to maintain Vienna as a hub, to maintain the name Austrian Airlines and to leave a minority share of 25 percent of the total stock capital in Austrian hands.
One of six Airbus-approved outfitters for its ACJ corporate jetliner family, Stork Fokker Services (Booth No. 875) is expanding its activities in the VIP/corporate completion market alongside competitors such as Jet Aviation, Lufthansa Technik and TAT’s Sabena Technics.
Bavarian regional airline Augsburg Airways, wholly owned by Germany’s Haindl family, hopes to approach break-even margins by the end of this year following a massive restructuring effort. Begun March 29 with a contract to revamp a six-year-old marketing relationship with Lufthansa Airlines, the overhaul has resulted in the loss of some 140 jobs and the grounding of five airplanes.
Technical difficulties continued to dog regional airplanes built by a financially resurgent Bombardier last month, as no fewer than 85 Q400 turboprops sat idle while operators performed emergency inspections on their main landing gear.
A second incident in three days involving collapsed landing gear on a Scandinavian Airlines Bombardier Q400 has prompted Bombardier to recommend that operators ground any Q400 that has accumulated more than 10,000 landing gear cycles until they complete emergency inspections.
Eurofighter’s first export sale–to Austria–has not been a happy experience, although the company has met all its schedule and performance commitments to date. The first of 18 aircraft is already flying, the second will fly soon, there are four more in final assembly and parts for the other 12 are already in production. The first Austrian pilots have been trained on the aircraft in Germany.
Tyrolean Jet Services of Innsbruck is here at EBACE for the sixth time, exhibiting its charter expertise to attendees (Booth No. 526). Austria’s oldest executive aircraft operator and the largest in the western part of the country, Tyrolean was founded in 1976 as the flight department of the Swarovski Group–manufacturer of crystal, jewelry and optical systems.
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