Lufthansa denies a report in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung that Vienna International Airport should lose its hub function in the group.
A report by the “Neue Zürcher Zeitung” (NZZ) about the Lufthansa Group caused some waves in social networks on Sunday: “As the ‘NZZ am Sonntag’ learned from well-informed circles, the group management also discussed whether and which ones In addition to Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich, Brussels and Vienna are transfer airports, at which state-owned airlines offer a network of long and short routes. Vienna is obviously at risk as a hub, “says the report.
The denial from the Lufthansa Group about the possible threat to the Austrian Airlines hub did not, however, wait long: “There is no planning at all for a change in the hub logic for the period after the Corona crisis” Lufthansa Group Communications Director Andreas Bartels quoted by the APA. This is “pure speculation,” said Bartels.
Even if the hub is currently not endangered: It seems almost impossible that AUA (like many other airlines) will go through this crisis without major changes. Austrian Airlines CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech said in an interview with AviationNetOnline a few days ago: “It is clear that the longer the crisis lasts, the more difficult the time of recovery will be, as all economic researchers agree. We are currently expecting several scenarios through. But I think it’s too early to commit. ”
Freedom to travel only with vaccination or treatment?
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg said at the weekend how long the crisis would last, at least in terms of travel behavior, that a restrictive line was being followed. Kurz said in an interview with the “Kleine Zeitung”: “As long as there is no vaccination or effective medication, this disease will accompany us. As long as there is no freedom of travel as we have known it.” Foreign Minister Schallenberg is quoted by orf.at as saying: “Even if we have mastered the corona virus in Austria, we will not be able to immediately return to full freedom of travel. We have to assume that it will take some countries even longer to control the virus to get and therefore continue to be considered risk areas. ”
Last but not least, experts expect vaccination to take a few months, not least next year, due to the lengthy and strict approval requirements. And proven effective drugs are still pending – the German virologist Christian Drosten, for example, regularly provides information on the current state of affairs in the NDR podcast.
Freedom to travel in Austria threatens to remain severely restricted for some time, not least because of these policy statements, together with a lack of prospects for prophylaxis and causal therapy of the infection and the disease. The result would be that the airlines in Austria inevitably remain on the ground for longer. For the future of the aviation market in Austria, and ultimately also of Austrian Airlines, there is probably currently not much more than “pure speculation” anyway. It will probably only be possible to guess in a few months how Austrian Airlines and its Vienna hub will continue.