Austrian Airlines Group is reporting a significantly improved passenger load factor for June, acknowledging its recent inclusion in the Star Alliance as a contributing factor. This follows a tough trading period which saw the consortium turn in disastrous results for 1999.Load factor for the tri-nation grouping including Austrian Airlines, Lauda Air and Tyrolean Airways rose 4.1% to 71.1%, while seat kilometre capacity and revenue passenger kilometres also improved by 5.5% and 12.1% respectively.

Total passengers carried during the first six months of 2000 was 3.8 million - up 2.6% - and available seat kilometres rose 5.6% during the same period. Revenue passenger kilometres also improved by 7.8% to give a load factor of 67.3%.Cargo and air mail traffic rose appreciably during the six-monthly reporting period to reach 62,080t - up 24.7% over the corresponding first half of 1999.A statement from Austrian Airlines Group says that: "The continuous upward trend in scheduled passenger services is partly due to the positive effects of being in the Star Alliance from the second quarter of 2000."

The group posted an operating result precipitously down by almost 73% last year to just AS290 million ($20 million) from more than AS1 billion the previous year. Net profits dropped more than 80% to reach AS216 million.

Source: Flight Daily News