Austrian Airlines Adds Mauritius to Long-Haul Network

Austrian Airlines is to add the popular luxury holiday island of Mauritius to its winter 2015/2016 schedule re-establishing a route it last served almost ten years ago in winter 2006/2007. The carrier, part of the Lufthansa Group, will introduce a weekly flight from Vienna to Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport on Mauritius from October 29, 2015 using a Boeing 767-300ER.

The network expansion supports the airline’s strategy to enhance aircraft utilisation during the quieter winter season. In recent years destinations in the Indian Ocean have seen market growth for Austrian passengers and the carrier’s existing flights to the Maldives have been extremely popular, showing the high potential in the Austrian long-haul tourism segment.

According to World Bank data, international tourism arrivals in Mauritius have grown from 719,000 in 2004 to 965,000 in 2012. The traditional markets of France, UK, Germany and Italy remain the largest for inbound arrivals from Europe but have been in decline, with other markets emerging.

“Demand is high in Austria for direct flights to long-haul tourist destinations. That is why we are pleased to be able to offer our customers a new destination in this segment, namely Mauritius,” said Jaan Albrecht, chief executive officer, Austrian Airlines. “Flights to Mauritius enable us to more effectively use our intercontinental network with our existing fleet of aircraft during the weak winter season and thus increase our productivity.”

The Vienna – Mauritius route was previously flown by Air Mauritius but when it pulled off the route in June 2004, Austrian Airlines immediately established its own weekly year-round flight. This was switched to a seasonal operation from the winter 2005/2006 schedule and the link was closed the subsequent winter in April 2007.

Austrian Airlines expects local passengers to comprise two-thirds of those flying on the new route to Mauritius, with transfer passengers from other European destinations connecting via its Vienna hub making up the remainder. In its last schedule of operation (winter 2006/2007) between November 2006 and April 2007, our analysis shows that point-to-point traffic accounted for an estimated 82.2 per cent of passenger demand on the route.

In our analysis, below, we look in greater detail at bi-directional O&D demand between Austria and Mauritius. The data shows that even without a non-stop offering between the two countries since spring 2007, more than 6,000 passengers a year are still flying between the two countries via connecting services.

Data provided by Sabre

The long-haul expansion in winter 2015/2016 from Austrian Airlines is just one of a number of new routes revealed by its parent company, Lufthansa for next year. Alongside our previously reported stories Lufthansa is adding flights in summer 2015 to Seville in southern Spain and the Greek island of Crete, while existing destinations Bodrum (Turkey), Cagliari (Sardinia/Italy) Keflavik (Iceland) will all be served from both its Frankfurt and Munich hubs for the first time.

The airline will also add its first flights between Munich and Glasgow will there will also be additional flights on existing Spanish connections from Frankfurt to Málaga, Palma de Mallorca and Valencia as well as from Munich to Bodrum.

The addition of Seville to the Lufthansa network - three times weekly from Frankfurt and weekly from Munich from March 26, 2015 using an Airbus A320 - will bring the return of regular flights to the Andalusia city and the numerous beach resorts on the Costa de la Luz from Germany’s two largest airports. The last regular link to the city was a seasonal connection from Frankfurt between June and September 2007 by Vueling predecessor clickair.

A new weekly link to Heraklion on Crete, the largest Greek island, every Saturday from Munich using an A320 will see the German flag carrier offer its frequent flyers and Star Alliance members better access to the numerous holiday resorts and hotels on the 260 km long and 60 km wide island, which are all easily accessible from the airport. The route is also served by Aegean Airlines, airberlin, Condor and TUIfly, while Sun Express Germany will also serve the market in summer 2015.

Elsewhere in its summer 2015 schedule, a new twice weekly A319 link from Frankfurt in the main travel season between May and September 2015 to Keflavík Airport, which is 50 km from the capital of Reykjavík, will complement Lufthansa’s existing weekly flight from Munich, while the popular Mediterranean beach resorts of Bodrum and Cagliari will also get connections to Frankfurt, in addition to the existing routes from Munich.

Bodrum, situated directly on the Turkish Aegean, will be served from the middle of May using an A320 and Cagliari, in the south of the Italian island of Sardinia, will be linked to Frankfurt weekly by an Embraer 190 operated by Lufthansa CityLine.

Alongside the links to the Mediterranean, Lufthansa is to also connect Bavaria and Scotland for the first time with a new weekly A319 link between Munich and the former industrial city of Glasgow, now a modern cultural destination. The German flag carrier will be the sole operator on the route, the third link between Germany and Glasgow alongside its own flight from Dusseldorf operated by Germanwings since September 2014) and easyJet’s link to Berlin.

Richard Maslen

Richard Maslen has travelled across the globe to report on developments in the aviation sector as airlines and airports have continued to evolve and…