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Lufthansa 'well prepared' for more competition at Vienna

Lufthansa is "well prepared" for the arrival of additional competition at Vienna airport, argues the airline group's finance chief Ulrik Svensson.

Briefing analysts today, Svensson acknowledged "a large gathering of many competitors" at the Austrian capital's gateway but added that this was "nothing which is new for us". He notes that the German carrier faces increased competition at its Frankfurt base.

Svensson says customers appreciate the "very good product" offered by Austrian Airlines. He cites the Lufthansa subsidiary's "high frequencies" from Vienna.

Wizz Air and Laudamotion activated new bases at Vienna this summer, while IAG budget carrier subsidiary Level began short-haul European flights from there earlier this month.

Earlier this month, Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary warned of "price wars" at Vienna this winter.

Austrian has reported a €68 million ($70 million) operating profit for the second quarter, an increase of 7%. However, its first-half operating profit fell to €1 million, from €7 million in the same period of 2017. The carrier attributes the decline to increased fuel prices and higher expenses related to "flight irregularities resulting from thunderstorms, airspace restrictions as well as works meetings [with labour representatives] in March 2018".

Svensson says that while there had been a "large improvement" in profitability at Austrian, there is still more to be done to reduce the carrier's costs.

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