VIA shattered by Arab unrest

Vienna International Airport’s (VIA or VIE) performance has been affected by the uprisings in North Africa and the Arabian region.Flughafen Wien AG, the company managing Austria’s busiest aerodrome, said today (Tues) the number of passengers to destinations in the Far and Middle East edged down by 0.5 per cent last month compared to March 2010 after a 13 per cent increase from February 2010 to the same month of this year.The overall number of passengers at VIA rose by 4.9 per cent to 1.565 million from March 2010 to March 2011, while flights to destinations in Western Europe were more popular with a 3.6 per cent passenger increase.Flughafen Wien AG – which is quoted on the Vienna Stock Exchange (WBAG) – added that 20,759 departures and arrivals took place in March, up by 0.8 per cent compared to the same month of 2010.Around 4.1 million passengers were recorded at VIA in the first three months of the year, up by 5.5 per cent compared to the same period of 2009.Flughafen Wien AG said it aimed at a passenger increase of five per cent this year compared to last year’s 19.69 million. The number of flights could climb by two per cent, it added.VIA is located near Schwechat in Lower Austria. Around 51 per cent of all take-offs and departures at the aerodrome are flights operated by the Austrian Airlines (AUA) group.Meanwhile, prosecutors announced they confiscated documents and data storage devices from flats of former Flughafen Wien AG managers and businesspeople involved in the construction of a new terminal called Skylink today.Skylink would be VIA’s fourth terminal. Building activities started six years ago and the terminal was set to go into operation ahead of the European Football Championship in 2008. Its opening date was delayed several times before building activities were halted for almost a year in 2009 amid reports of immense cost overruns.The construction of Skylink resumed last year. Flughafen Wien AG chief Christoph Herbst said he was convinced the terminal will be opened in mid-2012. Herbst added overall expenditure will not be higher than 800 million Euros.