Austria’s Vienna International Airport (VIE) has experienced one of the highest growth rates of new low-cost carrier (LCC) routes of any major European airport as more LCCs have entered the market.

The airport handled 4,864,177 passengers in the January-March period, up 6.6% year-over-year.

According to VIE board member Julian Jäger, the “main growth drivers are the numerous new flight offerings of LCCs such as Lufthansa Group subsidiary Eurowings, UK-based easyJet, and Spain’s Vueling and Volotea airlines. In addition, carriers such as Central and Eastern European LCC Wizz Air and new Austrian carrier LaudaMotion—as well as an increase of frequencies from legacy carriers like Austrian Airlines—have had an impact on growth.”

VIE currently has an LCC market share growth of 17% to 20%, which is expected to rise to 25% this year. “However, the current trend of LCC growth in Europe arrived late in Vienna. Compared to countries like Spain—where LCCs have a total market share of 50%—there is still a lot of volume for growth in Austria,” Jäger told ATW.

Spanish LCC Vueling, which is owned by International Airlines Group (IAG), plans to establish a Vienna base this summer.

Wizz Air established a base in Vienna recently and expects to have five Airbus A320/321s stationed there by 2019. LaudaMotion will increase its Vienna-based fleet from four to eight Airbus A320 family aircraft by winter.

Singapore-based LCC Scoot, a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines (SIA) Group, is evaluating Singapore-Vienna services and IAG’s long-haul LCC Level is considering long-haul flights from the Austrian capital. 

“Vienna airport has managed to overcome the repercussions of the [2017] airberlin bankruptcy and successfully started the year 2018,” VIE board member Günther Ofner said. Airberlin and its Vienna-based subsidiary NIKI once had a 20% market share in Vienna.

In April, VIE registered the busiest day in the airport’s history, with more than 92,600 passengers.

The number of flight movements in the January-March period was up 1.7% from the prior-year level to 48,672 takeoffs and landings.

Kurt Hofmann, hofmann.aviation@netway.at