Austrian Airlines: Sharing the Runway

Starting in October, Sky Europe will connect Vienna and Innsbruck, raising the stakes, while EasyJet prepares for landing

News | Daniel A.J. Sokolov | September 2007

Vienna’s Airport, Schwechat, soon to have new flight routes (Photo: Martin Braun)

The Slovakian airline Sky Europe is taking Austrian Airlines head on, and  for the first time, there will be real price competition on a national route. Starting Oct. 28, Sky Europe will connect Vienna with Innsbruck three times a day Monday through Friday, once every Saturday and twice on Sundays. And that is not just any route, but Austrian’s most frequently flown route.

So this fall Austrian’s lucrative monopoly is coming to an end. Passengers will profit through lower prices and a wider choice of connections. Sky Europe tickets will be priced starting at 29 Euros one way including taxes and fees if paid through the mobile phone application "Paybox," and an additional charge of  2,95 Euros  each way if paid by credit card.

But that’s not the only new route Sky Europe is launching from Vienna. In fact, the Wien Schwechat airport will become the carrier’s most important base and include flights to Innsbruck, Bergamo (Milan), Copenhagen, Krakow, Lisbon, Naples, Prague, Timisoara, Warsaw Etiuda and Bucharest changing airports to Baneasa from the previous Otopeni.

The airline will also continue to fly from Vienna to Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Brussels, Larnaca, Nice, Paris Orly, Sofia, Thessalonica, and Treviso (Venice). On several of these routes the frequency will be increased, in some cases even doubled to twice daily. In the restructuring, less lucrative routes are being cancelled by mid October already, at least for the winter schedule: Dubrovnik, Pisa (Florence), Rimini (San Marino), Split, and Zadar, with the possibility of reinstatement next summer.

In other changes the airline has recently started a free Web check-in service for flights taking off from Vienna (except to Barcelona). In order to take advantage of the service, travelers must be 18 years of age, have hand luggage only, do not travel with infants, do not require special services such as bicycle, wheelchair, or sports equipment transport, and hold a valid EU passport or ID card. If all of these prerequisites are met, Sky Europe customers can check in online from 48 to 4 hours before scheduled take off. After that, they don’t have to queue at the check-in counter at the airport any more.


Austrian to Kazakhstan and (Possibly) to London City

New "Focus East" Flights to Central Asia Take off September 4


Rumor has it, that Austrian will start a new service between Vienna and London City Airport (LCY). While not confirmed by Austrian, LCY management is reported to have allocated flying slots to the Austrian national carrier for two flights a day. LCY is London’s fifth largest airport. Due to it’s short runway it can not be used with very large aircraft. And even midsize jets have to be able to fly a steeper course than on most international airports. Especially business travelers prefer London City Airport to the other airports of the area, since one can get downtown much faster.

Officially announced is the new link between Vienna and Kazakhstan’s somewhat artificial capital Astana. Starting September 4, Austrian will fly that route three times a week in cooperation with Air Astana. This new destination in Central Asia is part of Austrian’s "Focus East" strategy.

Due to security concerns, Austrian has temporarily halted all flights to the city of Erbil in Iraq. The pilots of a Swedish passenger plane had noticed a trail of light arcing over their aircraft shortly after take-off from Iraq’s Sulaimaniyah airport. They thought that a missile had been shot at them. Local officials denied any such event and blamed hunters’ spotlights for the light phenomenon. But nobody wants to take a chance.


The "HONorable" Circle

New Perks for Very Frequent Flyers


If you really fly a lot with member airlines of the Star Alliance and take part in the Miles & More customer retention program you will be awarded with special status, such as "Frequent Traveler" or even "Senator". But if you fly very very often you can even become an "HON Circle Member". For that you need to acquire a whopping 600.000 miles within a two year period. If you are one of these stressed few, you will be treated with special services. In Vienna, HON Circle Members (and your family plus one other accompanying person) flying with Austrian, Lufthansa, or Swiss, now have access to a new HON Circle Lounge in the Priority-Terminal. There, you can check in, pass the security examinations and have your passport checked. DO & CO food, TV and audio entertainment with Bang & Olufsen equipment, a variety of print publications and Wireless LAN are also part of the treat. When you’re ready to leave, a limousine will bring you to your plane.


EasyJet Coming to Vienna


Starting with the winter schedule on October 29, Europe’s second largest low-cost airline, the British carrier easyJet, will fly to Vienna for the first time. Vienna will be connected to London Luton once a day. This will be the only low cost link between the two capitals since the Austrian budget airline Niki stopped flying to London Stansted a few months ago.

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