Downward trend continues into February
Austrian Airlines has reported further declines in passenger traffic in February, continuing the downward trend seen in January.
The airline carried 603,000 passengers last month, 16.4% fewer than the same month in 2008 and 20,000 fewer than in January.
Cumulatively, the fall in passenger volume in the first two months of the year was 14.8%.
Despite cutting capacity by 14.2%, load factor fell to 69.1%, three percentage points lower than the previous year.
It said reduced capacities and extensive marketing measures had failed to compensate for falling demand.
Short and medium haul flights suffered a 15.3% fall in passenger, while load fell to 61.0% after a capacity reduction of 7.0%.
Austrian said load on its long haul segment had remained "relatively stable" following the cancellation of its Chicago and Mumbai routes.
The resulting 24.9% cut in capacity and fall in traffic of 28.9% had resulted in a long haul load of 77.5%, 1.1% lower than 2008.
Last week Austrian's board of directors recommended its shareholders accept Lufthansa's €4.49 per share takeover offer.
The deal is subject to EU approval.
Executive board member Peter Malanik said the sale would be important for "ensuring the long-term future of the Austrian Airlines Group."
The recommendation followed a reported loss of €35.2m in 2008, compared to a profit of €55.7m the year before.
Austrian blamed the steep fall in adjusted full-year earnings on "extremely high" fuel prices and falling demand for seats.