AUA approaches black figures

Austrian Airlines (AUA) managed to reduce its losses last year.The struggling carrier suffered a loss of 64.7 million Euros in 2010, it was announced yesterday (Thurs). The airline stressed this was a significant improvement compared to the previous year’s loss of 230.9 million Euros.AUA, which reduced its workforce from more than 7,000 to around 5,900 from 2009 to 2010, said it will continue to restructure various company-internal processes to act more efficiently.The airline registered 10.9 million passengers last year, 9.7 per cent more than in 2009.German aviation company Lufthansa, which took over the Viennese carrier in 2009, said already last year it expected AUA to make a profit this year.AUA said it would introduce “slight price increases” on its Vienna – Innsbruck route after rival FlyNiki decided to stop operating between the Austrian cities.Lufthansa in the meanwhile managed to increase its turnover by 23 per cent to 27.3 billion Euros. Its affiliate Swiss achieved profits, while British Midland Airways (bmi) and Germanwings recorded losses last year.Lufthansa CEO Christoph Franz was optimistic about another turnover increase next year, but also warned that the coming months would be “no walk in the park”.Franz – who took over from Austrian businessman Wolfgang Mayrhuber in January – said soaring oil prices, political turmoil in North Africa and the Arabian region and natural disasters would affect the firm’s performance. The company chief also said tax increases and other aspects would confront Lufthansa but also its competitors with rising costs.Franz said it would be impossible to predict whether the Japanese nuclear disaster would have a negative effect on Lufthansa’s operations. The CEO however admitted the occurrences in the Asian country could postpone Lufthansa’s envisaged cooperation with Tokyo-based carrier All Nippon Airways (ANA).