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Wi-fi up in the air

Photo: Reuters

Photo: Reuters

Passengers in many Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines flights across Europe have access to unlimited surfing and streaming thanks to wi-fi on the aircraft.

Internet access would also be available on Eurowings flights in a few weeks’ time, Lufthansa said.

So far, 19 Lufthansa A320 family fleet aircraft as well 31 Austrian Airlines and 29 Eurowings aircraft have been fitted with wi-fi technology and satellite antennae to offer the service.

Passengers would be able to access the internet via their mobile devices. The offers range from messaging services through surfing the net and even video streaming. Three service packages are being offered.

Lufthansa has been a pioneer in terms of on-board digitalisation. It had operated the world’s first long-haul commercial flight with internet access on January 15, 2003. Despite its growing popularity, the service had to be discontinued in 2006 when the satellite operator ceased commercial operations.

Since December 2010, Lufthansa has again been the first airline to provide broadband internet access on intercontinental flights.

Airports perform well

The number of passengers handled at the Vienna Airport flight hub rose by 3.7 per cent to 4,562,824 travellers from January to March 2017. The number of local passengers was up 4.5 per cent in the first three months of 2017, and the volume of transfer passengers was up by 0.8 per cent.

Passenger traffic to Western Europe was up 3.7 per cent while Far Eastern destinations showed a 4.4 per cent growth in passenger volume, and the number of passengers flying to the Middle East rose by 9.8 per cent in this period. Due to seasonal capacity decreases and the deployment of smaller aircraft, the total number of passengers flying to North America fell by 19.4 per cent. In contrast, passenger volume to Africa expanded by 13.6 per cent.

The number of flight movements fell by two per cent in the period January to March 2017 from the prior-year level to 47,864 starts and landings. Average seat occupancy showed a stable development at 66.7 per cent in the first three months of the year 2017 compared to 66.8 per cent in the previous year. Cargo volume (air cargo and trucking) increased by 1.4 per cent in the same period to 65,440 tonnes.

Malta Airport reported a strong rise in passenger volume of 22.2 per cent to 981,955 passengers in the first three months of 2017. During the same period, Kosice Airport reported a considerable rise of 8.5 per cent in a year-on-year comparison, handling a total of 76,472 passengers.

Revenue of the Flughafen Wien Group in the first three months of 2017 were up 4.3 per cent to €160.6 million, whereas EBITDA rose 1.6 per cent to €60.7 million. EBIT improved by 3.5 per cent to €26 million, and the net profit for the period increased by 9.8 per cent to €15.9 million in Q1/2017 due to the improved financial results. Net debt was reduced once again to €324.6 million. The free cash flow totalled €40.7 million.

Total investments in the first three months of 2017 amounted to €35.6 million, with the largest share or €14.2 million for purchases of land for the development of property projects.

In April 2017, the Flughafen Wien Group (Vienna Airport, Malta Airport and Kosice Airport) handled a total of 2.7 million passengers, comprising an increase of 16.8 per cent from April 2016. The accumulated passenger volume for the Flughafen Wien Group rose 9.7 per cent to 8.3 million passengers in the period January to April 2017.

Malta Airport reported a strong growth of 26.6 per cent in the number of passengers it handled in April 2017.

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