10 March, 2022

After another crisis year Austrian Airlines sees record booking for summer


• Annual result 2021: Adjusted EBIT at EUR -264 million
• Passenger growth of 61 percent compared to 2020
• EUR 60 of EUR 300 million of the crisis loan already repaid
• High booking numbers pave the way for summer 2022
• CCO Michael Trestl: “More than 500,000 bookings within 14 days prove that people want to travel again.”
• COO Francesco Sciortino: “In the past two years we have shown resilience and flown Austrian Airlines with great flexibility through a crisis full of turbulence. Together we can also master other challenges!”

“We are the Austrian flag carrier, it is our mission to connect people and economies, even in difficult times. This is why we are all the more concerned about the situation in Ukraine, which is causing extreme suffering and uncertainty for the entire world,” says Austrian Airlines CCO Michael Trestl. “Our thoughts are with all the people affected by the war and our local colleagues, whom we support as best we can,” says Austrian Airlines COO Francesco Sciortino.

2021 was another year marked by crisis

In 2021, waves of openings and closures and the emergence of new virus variants caused another year of crisis in aviation. Austrian Airlines closed the past year with a loss of EUR -264 million (Adjusted EBIT), a plus (+17%) compared to 2020 (EUR -319 million), but still, a negative development compared to 2019 (Adjusted EBIT: EUR 19 million). Even if the number of passengers (5.0 million) seasonally developed very positively last year (61%, 2020: 3.1 million), they only accounted for around a third of the number of passengers compared to 2019 (14.7 million) due to numerous travel restrictions and renewed lockdowns.

“Lockdowns, travel restrictions and new virus variants are reflected in our annual results: we have to close 2021 with yet another minus,” says Austrian Airlines CCO Michael Trestl and continues: “However, over 500,000 bookings within 14 days are a record since the outbreak of the pandemic and prove that people want to travel again.” After another year full of restructuring measures and adjustments to the new travel normality, the current bookings give reason for confidence in our flight operations. “In the past two years, we have shown resilience and have flown Austrian Airlines with great flexibility through a crisis full of turbulence. Together we can also master other challenges!” says Austrian Airlines COO and Crisis Team Leader Francesco Sciortino.

The annual result in detail

In 2021, revenue at Austrian Airlines increased by 62 percent to EUR 743 million (2020: EUR 460 million, 2019: EUR 2,108 million). Total operating revenue increased by 15 percent to EUR 774 million (2020: EUR 672 million, including EUR 150 million emergency aid, 2019: EUR 2,181 million). In the same period, total operating expenses increased by 5 percent to EUR 1,038 million (2020: EUR 991 million, 2019: EUR 2,164 million). Despite lower production, the national flag carrier’s liquidity remains well above plan. Compared to 2020, adjusted EBIT, which does not include valuation gains or losses from aircraft sales, improved by 17 percent to EUR -264 million (2020: EUR -319 million, including EUR 150 million in emergency aid, 2019: 19 million euros).

As of 31 December 2021, Austrian Airlines had 5,793 employees, which is a decrease of around 650 employees or 10 percent compared to 2020 and a decrease of around 1,196 employees or 17 percent compared to 2019. The reduction was due to natural attrition, not filling vacant positions and the expiry of limited-term employment contracts.

Air traffic in 2021 only gradually developed towards pre-crisis levels. Last year, Austrian Airlines flew around a third of the passengers (5.0 million) of the pre-crisis year 2019 (14.7 million). However, a comparison with the previous year (3.1 million) shows a positive development with an increase of 61 percent, which is mainly due to seasonal upturns. The available seat kilometres (11.3 billion) show a similar picture with a decrease of 60 percent compared to 2019 (28.5 billion) and an increase of 59 percent compared to 2020 (7.1 billion). The seat load factor in 2021 was at 61.9 percent, consistent to 2020 and 18.9 percentage points lower than 2019 (80.8 percent).

Second half of 2021 with upward trends – EUR 60 million of the crisis loan already repaid
Austrian Airlines’ revenue in the second half of the year accounted for around three-quarters of total annual revenue in 2021. With an adjusted result of EUR 2 million, the national carrier landed in the black in the third quarter of the year, which was characterized by a strong summer peak. Thanks to a good Christmas season, Austrian Airlines’ revenue increased by 446 percent to EUR 251 million in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared to the same quarter of the previous year (Q4 2020: EUR 46 million). With the loan repayments totalling EUR 60 million, Austrian Airlines is fulfilling its responsibility towards Austrian taxpayers: in 2021, the airline repaid a fifth of the state-secured bank loan of EUR 300 million.

Booking records pave the way out of the corona crisis

After the announcement of large-scale easings in Europe, Austrian Airlines recorded the highest number of bookings since the beginning of the corona crisis. Over 500,000 flights were booked within only 14 days. The bookings mainly focused on the private travel segment - a continuing trend from last year. Therefore, the Austrian national carrier has optimized this year’s summer flight schedule for tourist travel by increasing its offer to European holiday destinations by around 20 percent compared to 2019. In summer, Austrian Airlines’ flight program includes 110 destinations with new additions on both short and long-haul routes. “On top of our attractive tourist network, we continuously strengthen our role as a network airline. By resuming flights to Los Angeles, for example, we want to reinforce our Vienna hub,” says CCO Michael Trestl. However, the increase in bookings is not limited to the summer peak. Currently, there is also high demand for the Easter holidays and spontaneous weekend trips. “We remain flexible, vigilant and stick together,” the CCO concludes. 

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