Air Transport World

Tyrolean takes off.

Austrian Regional decided going it alone was not the way to go. Result: Rapid growth and rising profits

Up-and-coming Tyrolean Airways, once a relatively nondescript, privately owned, stand-alone Regional with limited prospects, has catapulted into the top ranks of European airlines from its home base in the heart of the Austrian Alps.

Consistent growth and quality service, accompanied by stringent cost controls, have become hallmarks. This spring/-summer alone, Tyrolean is adding five new cities to the network and increasing frequencies to five others, serving 44 destinations in 20 countries altogether. Five new aircraft will join the fleet in 1999, partly as replacements for earlier models.

Beyond that, Air Transport World's 1998 Regional Airline of the Year (ATW, 2/99, p. 39) forecasts for 1999 a 14% rise in revenues to ATS4.7 billion ($394 million), a 10.4% increase in flights to 70,900 movements and an 11.9% boost in passengers to 2,050,000.

The current successful expansion phase contrasts sharply with the carrier's inauspicious beginnings, recall managers at VO's new modernistic headquarters near Innsbruck Airport in the capital of the Austrian province of Tyrol. Tyrolean's origins go back to 1978, when Austrian entrepreneurs Gernot Langes-Swarovski and Christian Schwemberger-Swarovski acquired a tiny company called Aircraft Innsbruck. They launched Tyrolean Airways on April 1, 1980, with a 48-seat de Havilland Dash 7, carrying 38,500 passengers in the first year.

For pilots, just flying into and out of tiny, 70-year-old Innsbruck-Kranebitten Airport (600,000 passengers in 1998, about half as many as at Salzburg Airport, Austria's second-busiest after Vienna) with its single 2,000-meter runway is challenging. The reason for sometime-stricky flight operations: Innsbruck occupies a narrow site on a valley floor hemmed in by towering, snow-capped peaks. The university city of 130,000, which hosted Olympic Winter Games in 1964 and 1976, boasts a convention center plus five major skiing areas and the nearby Stubai Glacier.

With confidence and panache, Tyrolean now is achieving critical mass and profitability through a clearly defined, segmented role within Austrian Airlines Group and the synergies that derive therefrom. …

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