Austrian Airlines is to launch daily services from Bratislava, Slovakia, to Brussels, Paris and London from next May using a Boeing 737, as part of its expansion strategy into central Europe as the European Union expands. The move will place Austrian in direct competition with Slovakian low-cost airline SkyEurope at Vienna Bratislava Express airport, just 50km (30 miles) from Vienna - close enough for SkyEurope to include free bus transfers to Vienna in its fares. Austrian plans to operate up to 60 extra flights into central and eastern Europe in next year's summer schedule, but had until now not proposed an operating base other than Vienna. Operating costs from Bratislava are considerably less than from Vienna. Meanwhile, SkyEurope begins operations from its Budapest, Hungary, base this week to London and Paris and will add Milan and Zurich next month.

Source: Flight International