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Annual results 2015: Austrian Airlines Generates Good Operating Results

Finance Results

• Flag carrier increases EBIT from EUR 17 million to EUR 54 million
• Restructuring shows clear success, aided by low fuel prices
• CEO Kay Kratky: “Austrian Airlines on the right track“

Austrian Airlines is in the black for the third straight year. Following an operating profit of EUR 25 million in 2013 and an EBIT of EUR 17 million in 2014, Austria’s flag carrier generated an EBIT of EUR 54 million in 2015. This significant increase compared to the previous year is mainly due to three factors: lower fuel costs, the resolute cost savings measures and the success of its new long-haul flight services focusing on North America.

“We can be satisfied with our earnings development. The trend is in the right direction, and the company is well on track”, says Austrian Airlines CEO Kay Kratky.

Business results in detail
Operating expenditures rose slightly by 1.5 percent in 2015 to EUR 2,189 million, which can be mainly attributed to negative currency effects and scheduled higher maintenance costs. At the same time, thanks to the effective price and network management, total operating revenues climbed by 3.2 percent to EUR 2,243 million (refer to chart on page 4).

Austrian Airlines achieved a considerable improvement in its earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) to EUR 54 million in spite of the political crises in Russia, Ukraine and the Middle East. This comprises more than a three-fold increase compared to EUR 17 million in 2014.

“Our strict restructuring work in recent years is clearly reflected in our performance”, says CFO Heinz Lachinger. “We succeeded in slowing down the price dynamics. However, we cannot rest on our laurels, but have to consistently work on improving our financial strength.”

Austrian Airlines invests in aircraft and product offering
The integration of 17 Embraer jets was initiated in the fall of 2015 and should be completed by the end of 2017. The modernization of the medium-haul fleet represents the biggest investment project in the history of Austrian Airlines. An Embraer type E195 has a list price of USD 52 million. The Fokker 70 and Fokker 100 aircraft were already sold in November 2015.

A further investment project is the upgrading of cabin equipment on the 29 Airbus A320 aircraft in the airline’s fleet, which is also scheduled to be concluded by 2017. One key change is the improvement of the business class. Moreover, Austrian Airlines will begin installing WLAN on its Airbus jets starting in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Stable passenger development, high level of customer satisfaction
Austrian Airlines carried about 10.8 million passengers in the period January to December 2015, comprising a decline of three percent from the previous year. The drop in passenger volume reflects the targeted capacity reduction in European flight traffic, in particular due to the weak business in Russia and the crisis in the Ukraine.

The flight offering in available seat kilometers (ASK) remained virtually the same, falling marginally by 0.1 percent, whereas revenue passenger kilometers (RPK) decreased by 1.3 percent. Capacity utilization (passenger load factor) was at 78.0 percent, a slight drop of 0.9 percentage points from the comparable level in 2014.

Austrian Airlines operated a total of 126,827 flights in 2015 using 77 aircraft, or about 347 flights per day. The regularity of operation was 98.7 percent, whereas the punctuality rate on departure equaled 88.5 percent. Accordingly, Austrian Airlines continues to rank among the ten most punctual airlines in the world.

Customer satisfaction with Austrian Airlines developed particularly well, at 91 percent for Business Class on long-haul routes and 75 percent for Economy Class. On short-haul and medium-haul flights, 78 and 75 percent respectively of all passengers were satisfied with the service provided by the airline.

The total staff of the Austrian Airlines Group amounted to 5,984 employees at the balance sheet date of December 31, 2015 (2014: 6,067 employees). The year-on-year decline is due to the sale of the subsidiary TraviAustria and the reduction in the number of administrative employees resulting from the fusion of Tyrolean Airways and Austrian Airlines. Austrian Airlines began recruiting additional staff for its flight operations in 2015, hiring 80 pilots and 240 flight attendants.

Outlook: More passengers expected again – Further expansion of long-haul network

In 2015, Austrian Airlines already began expanding its long-haul routes and focusing on tourist destinations by adding Colombo, Menorca, Odessa, Manchester, Marrakech, Mauritius and Miami to its network of destinations. Moreover, flights will be offered to Shanghai and Bari starting in the spring of 2016. As of September 2016, flight service will commence to Hong Kong in China followed by the launch of flights to Havana, Cuba in October 2016.

Austrian Airlines expects a further improvement in its business results in 2016. “After the restructuring, we are once again investing in our product offering and service quality, and are further expanding our network with interesting short-haul and long-haul destinations. This will all have a clearly positive impact on our earnings this year”, concludes CEO Kay Kratky.

Annual results 2015