European Ports & Trade 2005 - VIE offers advantages

By: | at 07:00 PM | Channel(s): International Trade  Ports & Terminals  

VIE offers advantages for Central European Freight and beyondBy Karen E. Thuermer, AJOTIt’s been decades since Austria has been able to market itself as being truly in the center of Europe, but with 10 European nations joining the European Union last year, this country and its capital city of Vienna are well positioned for the vast growth that is taking place in Central and Eastern Europe. Cargo-related activity at Vienna International Airport (VIE) is already benefiting from the upsurge of activity as well as operating as a key hub for shipments to and from North America and the Asia Pacific.
For example, freight handling increased 9.8% to 20,927 tons for September. VIE posted good growth rates in all traffic sectors. Further underlining the positive trend, over the first nine months of this year, freight volume rose by 9.1% to 166,429 tons. Turnover recorded by the Flughafen Wien Group increased by 0.6% to EUR 196.0 million for the first six months of 2005, a figure that exceeds the European average. The growth is contrasted by higher operating expenses, and resulted in earnings before interest and tax of EUR 51.0 million. Financial results totaled EUR 1.2 million. Net profit for the period attributable to the parent company rose 5.5% to EUR 39.1 million.
Some 60 airlines connect through VIA, with service to 160 destinations. Around 40 flights are offered daily to locations in Eastern Europe. Among the carriers calling at VIE are Air Canada, Air China, Air India, American Airlines, British Airways, Egyptair, Finnair, JAL, Eva, Qantas, Singapore Air, Thai Airways, and, of course, Austrian Airlines.
Austrian Airline’s commitments
Austrian Airlines (AUA), the national carrier of Austria, is the biggest player at VIE. AUA itself has experienced good freight volumes despite capacity reductions as a result of reduced passenger demand, especially in the first quarter. For the first half of the current operational year, freight and mail volumes rose by 3.1%. The volume of transported airfreight grew from 79,332 to 72,509 tons.
In Sept. 2005 Austrian Airlines began offering direct flights from Vienna to Mumbai, India. Mumbai, formerly called Bombay, is home to more than 11.5 million inhabitants and represents a 50% share of India’s total cargo volume. Service between VIE to Mumbai is offered five days per week. Up until recently, AUA only flew to Delhi. But cities such as Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai (formerly Madras) are being analyzed as possible routes.
“In addition, we have increased the frequency to Shanghai, China step-by-step, from three flights per week to five,” comments Dr. Joseph E. Burger, Austrian Airlines marketing director. As of this writing, the winter flight schedule had not yet been released. A flight is expected to be added to the Vienna-Beijing route this winter, however. Other routes under consideration for 2006 are to Chengdu, Chongoing (central China), or Guangzhou.
Franz Zochbauer, AUA vice president for cargo, comments that the carrier recorded the highest growth rates in the Asian market. “Demand for freight capacities to Central and Eastern Europe, Budapest and Prague, for example, have been rising steeply in Asia,” he says.
According to Burger, the carrier also wants service to Chicago, starting in 2006.
The Middle East also plays into future plans for the airline as a second key area. Locations for expanded service are Tripoli, Libya; Tel Aviv, Israel; Cairo and Alexandria, Egypt; Amman, Jordan, and Beirut, Lebanon along with increased frequencies to Istanbul, Turkey. In addition to the already existing connection to Tel Aviv, Austrian offers two more weekly evening flights.
AUA’s freighter to Kiev, in cooperation with Ukraine International Airlines, remains in high demand, with three frequencies a week. The service utilizes Antonov 12 (AN12) aircraft that offer a freight capacity of about 20 tons. Overall, 38 destinations in Central and Eastern Europe are served by Austrian cargo.
Austrian cargo offers a new connection

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American Journal of Transportation