ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Austrian sets down in fairy tale landThe Grand Ballroom of the Centara Hotel in Bangkok was transformed into a fairy tale setting on Friday, 17 December 2010 as the airline and its staff closed out 2010 with a gala celebration. More than 600 travel agents attended the event as well as members of the press.
The staff of Austrian was decked out in numerous fairy tale costumes such as Little Bo-Peep, and Raggedy Ann creating a fantastic atmosphere and the numerous booths where guests could engage in games of chance and skill added to the ambiance.
Arriving for the event from Austria were Robert Breitenfeld, Senior manager for Aviation Marketing and Business Development at Vienna International Airport and Barbara Kleinlercher, Austrian Airlines Manager of Marketing for Intercontinental and the Middle East markets. Jimmy Sng, Regional Manager South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Austrian Airlines, welcomed guests and hailed the event as the “greatest party” of the year.
Several musical groups performed, topped off with an appearance by a local favorite boy band, ETC.
Austrian Airlines was founded on 30 September 1957 and made its maiden flight on 31 March 1958 when a Vickers Viscount 779 took off from Vienna for London, England via Zurich. Austrian Airlines was formed through the merger of Air Austria and Austrian Airways. It launched domestic services on 1 May 1963. The airline's transatlantic services began on 1 April 1969 with a Vienna to Brussels and New York service in cooperation with Sabena.
Austrian became a member of the Star Alliance in 2000. That year, Austrian acquired Lauda Air, an airline whose operations included long haul flights, and acquired Rheintalflug on 15 February 2001. Its name was shortened to Austrian in September 2003 when it rebranded its three constituent carriers. On 1 October 2004 the Flight Operations Departments of Austrian and Lauda Air were merged into a single unit, leaving Lauda Air as a brand name only for charter flights. It has 8,468 employees.
Austrian Airlines, a unit of German carrier Lufthansa AG (LHA.XE) appointed on 1 December 2010 a new chief executive to strengthen the executive board which will now consist of three executives.
Thierry Antinori, 49, a Frenchman, will assume his new position as chairman of the executive board of Lufthansa's Austrian unit as of 1 April 2011, Austrian Airlines said in a statement. Antinori will move to Austria from Frankfurt where he is chief marketing officer at Lufthansa. He will lead the executive board and share management responsibilities with the current co-chief executives, Peter Malanik and Andreas Bierwirth.
"Malanik and Bierwirth have mastered the first phase of the turnaround successfully. For the second phase of restructuring facing Austrian Airlines, our aim is to strengthen its executive board and we are pleased to have for the new challenge an airline manager of great experience, expertise and the highest international prestige," the company said.
Austrian Airlines also announced in December 2010, that it will be resuming its services to Mumbai, India, after an 18-month hiatus. Flights to Mumbai will fly five times a week, and provide Business travelers with an easier connection between India and Europe.
The airline will also be adding flights from New Delhi, to the list of available destinations that Business travelers will be able to fly, to and from. Flights to New Delhi will fly six times a week. Added to the five weekly Mumbai flights, a total of 11 flights will be available to Business passengers to use to travel between Europe and India.
Mumbai and New Delhi are popular business cities. An executive board member of Austrian Airlines, Andreas Bierwirth, has voiced opinions on the expected response from passengers travelling between Europe and Mumbai. Generally, the response is expected to be good, especially in Business Class. There is currently, an 80 percent capacity on flights to Vienna, which the airline will attempt to increase.
The airline will be following in the footsteps of other global airlines – in expanding their services into the profitable Indian market. The economic downturn caused many carriers to cutback on their business and first class cabins. However, a new confidence in the Premium Class traveler has seen airlines begin to expand once more.