The number of passengers at Vienna International Airport (VIA) rose by 4.1 per cent year on year to 1,203 million in January 2010, the airport reported today (Thurs).VIA added that the number of passengers with Middle Eastern destinations had gone up by 11.3 per cent and the number with Western European destinations had risen by 5.0 per cent.The volume of air freight at VIA went up by 30.8 per cent to 21,226 tonnes and maximum take-off weight (MTOW) went up by one per cent to 555,334 tonnes in January.VIA said it expected a two per cent increase in passengers and a five per cent increase in MTOW in 2010.January’s results are encouraging and will help VIA if they signal the beginning of a positive trend in the wake of a disappointing 2009.The airport reported last month that it had had 8.3 per cent fewer passengers, or 18.1 million, year on year in 2009.VIA chief Herbert Kaufmann said: “We have good long-term growth perspectives, and the airports geographically-ideal location makes it a turntable for Eastern Europe and the Middle East.”Discount airlines transported 4.2 million passengers last year – a decline of 9.0 per cent year on year. FlyNiki had the most passengers, 1.7 million, among discount airlines, and Air Berlin had 1.4 million passengers. Together, they transported a sixth of VIAs passengers last year. Eleven discount airlines used the airport in 2009.Austrian Airlines (AUA) transported 49.5 per cent of VIAs passengers last year, FlyNiki 9.5 per cent, Air Berlin 7.5 per cent and Lufthansa 5.6 per cent. The percentage of occupied seats on flights rose from 68.2 per cent in 2008 to 68.7 per cent in 2009.VIA handled 254,006 tonnes of freight last year – a decline of 5.2 per cent from the previous year.