LONDON – Vienna Airport has reached a milestone in its history, surpassing 27 million passengers for the first time ever as full-year results were disclosed by the group.

The 27,037,292 figure represents a 10.8% increase compared to the previous year and represents an all-time high for the airport.

Photo: Milan Suvajac

As explained by Julian Jäger, the Member of the Management Board for Flughafen Wien AG, this is down to the opening of three bases by Wizz Air, Laudamotion and LEVEL.

“2018 was once again a records year at Vienna Airport, with more than 27 million passengers. The main growth drivers at Vienna Airport were in particular Austrian Airlines followed by Laudamotion and the easyJet Group,” Jäger said.

Photo: Javier Rodriguez

“Long-haul routes developed very well,” he explained. “We also look ahead very optimistically to the year 2019 and anticipate passenger growth of about 10% at Vienna Airport to approx. 30 million passengers.”

“The further expansion of the low-cost segment and the approved conversion of the Austrian Airlines aircraft fleet at the airport site as well as further growth on long-haul routes of Austrian Airlines, Air Canada and ANA should also provide added impetus.”

Number of departures and landings increased by 7.3%, with seat load factor averages rising 1.3% to 76%.

Cargo numbers also rose by 2.6% to 295,427 tonnes, representing a steady growth for Flughafen Wien AG.

Western European demand increased by 10.3% with Eastern Europe rising by 8.3%.

Far East passenger demand also increased exponentially by 33.5% with the traffic numbers in the Middle East climbing by 8.3%.

North American flights also remained steady with improvements of 8.9%. Africa, like with the Far East, also increasing significantly by 29.8% alone.

Most popular destinations were London with 682,545 departing passengers, Frankfurt with 601,045, and Berlin with 530,712.

Heading more further into Eastern Europe, Moscow attracted 290,602 passengers, with Bucharest just behind with 228,746 and Sofia with 155,655.

Going to the Middle East, Dubai was the most popular with 227,034, Tel Aviv with 206,581, and Doha coming in third with 101,262.

The Far East saw Bangkok recording 177,205 passengers, which was ahead of Taipei with 131,829 and Pekin with 67,760 passengers too.

Looking towards the future, the elimination of the ticket tax and strengthening of the traffic infrastructure is under business location initiatives required by the airport as expansion slowly continues.

However, opposition from the European Commission could see the pause of the biggest element of the expansion: the third runway.

March 2018 saw the Austrian courts approve the plans to build a third runway, around 10 years after the initial plans were submitted.

The court had to decide on the issue again after the Austrian Constitutional Court rejected the plans on environmental grounds, subject to EU regulation.

It will be interesting to see where the Group can lobby the European Commission enough to make sure the third runway still goes ahead.

This is essential to the airport in expanding its passenger numbers even further beyond the 30 million passenger mark.