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15 years and still counting...

8. June 2011

It has been 15 years since the inaugural flight of Austrian from Vienna to Dubai was operated with a Boeing 737. The Austrian Airlines considers Dubai as an important destination in its Middle East strategy and plans to offer more services in days to come. The Austrian Trade Commission congratulates the Vienna-based airline and gives a sneak peek into the airlines’ plans ahead.

March 27, 2011 was a historic day for Austrian Airlines as the airlines completed 15 years of flying between Vienna and Dubai. In 1996, the inaugural flight to Dubai was operated with a Boeing 737. In the beginning the flight schedule consisted of one flight per week but due to the rising demand, the carrier has been able to successfully increase the number of flights and today offers a daily service between Dubai and Vienna operated by a Boeing 767.

The airline considers Dubai as an important destination in its Middle East strategy and plans to offer more services in days to come. Christina Debbah, Vice President, Global sales and distribution said: “We are happy to celebrate the 15th anniversary of our flights between Dubai and Vienna. Dubai is an important destination in our Middle-East strategy.”

The Vienna hub is Europe’s fastest transfer hub: from the Austrian capital, passengers can access 130 destinations in the Austrian route network, 46 of which are in Central and Eastern Europe.

Transferring is easy and quick in Vienna with travelers and baggage able to change aircraft in just 25 minutes and Austrian Airlines has a route network in Europe consisting of more than 100 destinations.

Passengers coming from Abu Dhabi and Al Ain are offered a complimentary limousine service to and from Dubai airport and, once on board, travelers are guaranteed warm Austrian hospitality.

On the Boeing 767, business class passengers enjoy a comfortable lie-flat sleeper seat with 150 cm of legroom and around 2 m of surface area to relax on. And all passengers can earn air miles on Austrian Airlines flights in the largest frequent flyer programme in the world, Miles & More.

Austrian Airlines has been a subsidiary of the Lufthansa Group since September 2009. In Dubai Austrian will move into the same office premises as Lufthansa by the beginning of May but will continue to be represented by its own sales team in the market. Karim El Sanadily will remain regional manager for Austrian Airlines for the Gulf, Lebanon and Pakistan.

The Vienna-based airline, having a fleet of 82 aircraft, is planning to enhance the product portfolios, increase its focus on the corporate sector and improve cooperation with its partner, the Lufthansa Group, to provide better service to the travellers in the region, Karim El Sanadily, the airline’s regional manager for the Gulf, Lebanon and Pakistan.

“The product enhancement was being done by introducing new economy class European standard seating which allows a generous 76cm seat pitch to passengers. The replacement would be completed on the airline’s entire network by September this year,” El Sanadily said.

El Sanadily said that the airline would cater to the growing corporate market by focussing on the sector. “The airline was already strong in the leisure sector and enjoyed a good share of the corporate market,” he added.
He said that cooperation with Lufthansa Group was constantly increasing and business plans were being jointly formulated.
“We are profiting from the synergy in our sales and ground operations. We are integrating the best available knowhow between us,” he said.
El Sanadily said that Austrian enjoyed a 45 per cent increase in passengers on its Dubai-Vienna route in 2010 over 2009, indicating a strong recovery from the international financial crisis. Internationally, it carried 11 million passengers in 2010, an increase of 10 per cent over 2009, he added.

“The Gulf and Dubai are an important market for Austria’s inbound tourism as the country has exceptional leisure facilities. On the other hand, Dubai is considered a dream destination acknowledged for its business and leisure activities,” El Sanadily said.

In addition to connecting Dubai to Vienna, the airline carries passengers to 130 destinations beyond Vienna, 46 of which are in Central and Eastern Europe and Austrian flights can be combined with Lufthansa and Swiss, he said.