Economic Times-India
WEDNESDAY 4 MARCH 1998
Austrian Airlines plans more flights
R Senthilnathan
VIENNA 3 MARCH
BUOYED by the the initial success of its two direct flights a week to New Delhi, the national carrier Austrian Airlines is planning to add another flight on this route.

Officials at the airline are all smiles when asked about the performance of the Vienna-New Delhi-Vienna operation, implemented in cooperation with Air-India, on Tuesdays and Saturdays and the returns on the following days.

``It is just four months (since Austrian Airlines began its first direct flight to India), but the occupancy rate has been more than expected,'' declared the airlines' spokesman Johann Jurceka.

Though he would not quantify, he said bookings have so far outstripped expectations. However, he said, reports in the local media that the occupancy rate was as high as 95 per cent were not true.

Austrian Airlines managers are certain they would meet their target of a passenger volume of up to 26,000 for 1998.

Mr Jurceka admitted that talks are currently under way for a third flight to Delhi and back. Should these talks end in agreement, the earliest the three-flight week would be implemented would be the coming winter - beginning October-November, 1998.

The delay is not due to any hiccups in negotiations but the fact that the 1998 summer schedules - which begin on April 1, 1998 - have already been finalised and publicised, he added.

This is the first time the two countries are being directly serviced and it is Austrian Airlines' third long haul service - Cape Town in South Africa and Shanghai in China being the other two.

The direct flight has been a boon, particularly to tourists. Travel agencies have used this to offer competitive prices. - IANS