Flughafen Wien Group hits pandemic passenger high

Airport operator Flughafen Wien Group has reported a substantial rise in passenger volumes at all three of its hubs last month, following a difficult six months

In July, 1,817,202 passengers passed through Flughafen Wien Group hubs – Vienna, Malta and Kosice – the highest monthly volume recorded since the beginning of the health crisis.  

Julian Jager, a member of the management board of Flughafen Wien, said: “July was the busiest month in terms of passenger volume since the beginning of the pandemic – 1.5 million travellers represents close to three times as many passengers as in July 2020, and this positive trend also intensified in the first half of August.

Vienna Airport
Photo Vienna Airport

“This gives us hope for the summer and the upcoming months. People are increasingly travelling again, and the new flight connections announced by Air Canada, EVA Air, Etihad Airways and many other carriers are proof of this. Nevertheless, we are still far from the level of pre-coronavirus passenger traffic and the next months will remain challenging.” 

The operator expects around 12 to 13 million travellers will pass through its airports this year.  Vienna Airport alone handled more than 31 million passengers in 2019, pre-pandemic.

Despite the significant growth, between January and June 2021, the operator recorded a 61.1% drop in year-on-year traffic at its facilities. The Austrian base experienced a 61.4% fall in numbers compared to pre-pandemic figures.  

Total flight movements were also down in the previous six months, dropping by 44.5%. Cargo volumes, however, increased by 16.1% to 125,150 tonnes. 

“Fortunately, the increasingly avid Austrian travellers are enjoying their summer vacations once again,” said Gunther Ofner, member of the management board of Flughafen Wien. “However, in order to avoid new travel restrictions in the fall, the incentives to get vaccinated should be significantly strengthened. In any case, a renewed lockdown would not be acceptable for the majority of vaccinated people and would once again stifle the nascent hope for increased tourist traffic.” 

Flughafen Wien Group revenue fell by 34.3% in the first half of this year, to €128.6m (£109.8m). In the first six months of 2021, total investment costs at Vienna came to €17.3m (£14.8m), most of which was channelled into Terminal 2, alongside purchasing catering trucks, constructing a third baggage handling line, creating an access door control system and on photovoltaic facilities. In total, €4m (£3.4m) was invested in Malta Airport