Third financial quarter 2021: Austrian Airlines in the black for the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic

3. November 2021 / 063e

  • First positive operating quarter since the beginning of the crisis – adjusted quarterly result of +2 million euros
  • July and August: +10% in tourist sector compared to pre-crisis levels (2019)
  • 2.3 million passengers in the third quarter of 2021: +206% compared to 2020
  • First loan installment of 30 million euros repaid ahead of schedule in July
  • CEO/CFO Alexis von Hoensbroech: “The positive figures give us tailwind for the traditionally tough winter months and optimism for the coming year.”
  • CCO Michael Trestl: “People are up in the air again – we are very pleased to see a revival in private and business travel.”

The good booking figures in the summer months brought a tripling of passenger numbers for Austrian Airlines in the third quarter 2021 compared to the previous year. With an adjusted EBIT of +2 million euros the red-white-red carrier landed slightly black operating figures for the first time since the outbreak of the Corona crisis. Despite the ongoing pandemic, the company’s liquidity situation remains stable. Austrian Airlines again emphasizes its awareness of the responsibility towards Austrian taxpayers, which is also reflected in the early repayment of the first loan installment of 30 million euros in mid-July. The next installment to repay the loan totaling 300 million euros is scheduled for the end of the year.

“For the first time, the team’s high flexibility, disciplined cost management and a significant increase in bookings are visible in our results. The positive figures give us tailwind for the traditionally tough winter months and optimism for the coming year”, explains Austrian Airlines CEO/CFO Alexis von Hoensbroech. “The gradual easing of travel is slowly but surely bringing us back up to a little more flying altitude. In summer our production was around 55% compared to pre-crisis levels. Nevertheless, the Corona crisis and the restrictions it brings along will keep us busy for longer than any of us would like. It is all the more important that we continue to stand together as ‘Austrian’ team as well as a society and that we do everything we can to put the pandemic behind us.”

Attractive destination offer lead to high booking numbers in summer

The high demand during summer and fall vacations clearly showed the Austrians’ desire for air travel. In the tourist segment, the red-white-red airline even recorded a 10% increase in supply in mid-summer compared to the pre-crisis year 2019. “People’s desire for sun and sea was so big that we increased our flight schedule with more frequencies to Palma de Mallorca, the Greek islands, Italy and new flights to Málaga. On highly demanded dates, we even operated a Boeing 777 to Crete.  This clearly shows that our offer is on point. People are up in the air again – we are very pleased to see a revival in private and business travel,” says Austrian Airlines CCO Michael Trestl. The longing for summer extension resulted in a good load factor for tourist destinations such as Cyprus, Paris, Malaga, Athens and Rome in the fall. Also, Austrian Holidays destinations such as Crete, Rhodes, Majorca, Gran Canaria and Tenerife were extremely well booked. And also business travel significantly rose again, especially within Europe.

The results in detail

In the third quarter of 2021, Austrian Airlines’ revenue of 304 million euros was significantly higher than the previous year’s figure, with an increase of 227% (Q3 2020: €93 million). For the first time since the outbreak of the crisis, the adjusted quarterly result (EBIT) showed a positive result (+2 million euros), compared to the significant minus of -106 million euros in 2020. Austrian Airlines’ ramp-up in summer and fall increased total expenses by 51% in the third quarter compared to the previous year (Q3 2021: 314 million euros, Q3 2020: 208 million euros). Both sales and expenses were at about half of pre-crisis level (Q3 2019: sales: 639 million euros, total expenses: 597 million euros).

Austrian Airlines carried 2.3 million passengers in the third quarter of the year, which is an increase of 206.5% (Q3 2020: 760 thousand). The increased capacity is reflected in the available seat kilometers (ASK): 4.5 billion seat kilometers were offered in the third quarter, a 53.9% increase in supply compared to pre-crisis levels (Q3 2020: 1.5 billion ASK, Q3 2019: 8.3 billion ASK).

Outlook for the winter months and 2022

With direct flights to Cancún, the Maldives and Mauritius, Austrian Airline’s 2021/22 winter flight schedule brings attractive long-haul destinations back to the Austrian route network. Due to high demand during the Christmas holidays, the Austrian home carrier is adding capacity to these destinations with increased frequencies.

Despite the ongoing pandemic, relaxed entry regulations for fully vaccinated travelers, as in Canada, the US or Thailand, are contributing to the restart of previously restricted destinations. The successful course in the tourism segment will be continued in summer 2022 with a further increased offer.

Overview of Key Facts and Figures:

 Q3 2021Q3 2020  Q3 2019Change YOY 2020Change YOY 2019
Revenue in € million30493639+227%-52%
Adj. total operating revenue in € million316102667    +210%-53%
Adj. total operating expenditures in € million314208597+51%-47%
Adjusted EBIT in € million+2-106+70
EBIT in € million+2-106+68
Passengers in thousands2,3287604,453+206%-48%
Available seat kilometers (ASK) in millions  4,4871,4948,329          +200%-46%
Number of flights21,95111,23039,746+95%-45%
Fleet size (fleet in operation)688281             -14-13
Employees (number)5,917        6,6157,038-11%-16%

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