Lufthansa ups pressure on AUA

Lufthansa bosses say they see an immense potential for savings at affiliate Austrian Airlines (AUA).The German aviation giant acquired a majority stake in AUA in September 2009. Most analysts claimed at the time that the deal would save the Viennese airline from ruin.Now Lufthansa CFO Stephan Gemkow said AUA could reduce its costs by 130 million Euros by focusing more strongly on generating synergies.The announcement comes after Lufthansa officials made clear they expected AUA to restore its finances this year.AUA managed to reduce its losses from 164.6 million Euros in the first nine months of 2009 to 44.4 million Euros in the same period of the following year. The airline – which was founded in 1957, had 649,000 customers last month, down by 1.6 per cent compared to February 2010. Experienced aviation industry businessman Thierry Antinori will join Peter Malanik and Andreas Bierwirth on AUA’s executive board next month.Gemkow also said today (Thurs) that Lufthansa’s expenses on kerosene may climb by 31 per cent to 6.8 billion Euros in 2011 due to rising crude oil trade rates and more flights.Meanwhile, Air Berlin announced it will offer connections between German capital Berlin and the Upper Austrian city of Linz from May. The low-cost carrier is the second-biggest German airline after Lufthansa. Air Berlin is cooperating with Austrian aviation firm FlyNiki.