FW turnover takes off

Austria’s biggest airport has managed to increase its profit.

Flughafen Wien AG (FW), which manages Vienna International Airport (VIA or VIE) announced yesterday (Weds) that it raked in 21.6 million Euros in the first three months of this year. The company said this was an increase of 9.1 per cent compared to the same period in 2011. FW added that turnover improved by 5.7 per cent to 139 million Euros.

These developments led to a correction concerning the expected number of passengers. FW officials said VIA had chances to welcome one to four per cent more customers this year than in 2012. The firm, which is quoted on the Vienna Stock Exchange (WBAG), initially expected passenger figures to remain stable.

VIA registered a record number of 21.1 million passengers in 2011, up by more than seven per cent compared to the previous year. The aerodrome situated southeast of capital Vienna is economically significantly stronger than the country’s other airports. Salzburg Airport W. A. Mozart (SZG) was Austria’s second-busiest airdrome with 1.7 million passengers last year, 4.6 per cent more than in 2010. Innsbruck Kranebitten Airport (INN) came third (997,000 passengers), with Graz Airport (GRZ) in fourth (976,000).

FW bosses plan to refurbish or reconstruct VIA’s three terminals in the coming years to increase the quality of services provided to passengers. Another project the firm is concentrating on is the creation of a 10,000-square metre shopping centre. The mall will be built in the direct vicinity to VIA, according to FW. The firm did not disclose an exact opening date. FW chiefs said the whole region could benefit from the construction of a shopping centre. They said that a new hotel could be built near VIA in the foreseeable future as well.

FW co-chief Günther Ofner recently said VIA might be able to cope with 28 million to 30 million passengers in a few years’ time thanks to new terminal Skylink. The terminal will be officially opened in June. Its facilities have been tested in a string of pilot projects in the past months. Skylink’s opening was scheduled for spring 2008 – in time for the European Football Championship. The tournament was organised by Austria and Switzerland.

The opening was rescheduled several times before building activities were stopped to allow the Federal Audit Office (RH) to check construction companies’ books. RH experts and state prosecutors are still investigating claims that assigned enterprises charged FW for activities that had never been carried out.

Meanwhile, airline chiefs have expressed hopes for a reduction of the ticket tax. The Austrian government charges each sold ticket with eight to 35 Euros depending on flights’ destinations since April 2011. FlyNiki head Christian Lesjak said the taxation scheme could cost his company 20 million Euros this year. Austrian Airlines (AUA) officials and the executive board of Lufthansa, which owns AUA, attacked the government coalition of Social Democrats (SPÖ) and People’s Party (ÖVP) over its decision to introduce the tax as well.