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            september 21, 2019

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India may reduce Austrian Airlines’ landing rights


India may reduce Austrian Airlines’ (AUA) landing rights, according to a report.
According to Austrian Times, online newspaper Austrian Aviation Net reported that the government of the economically prospering Asian country asked AUA to disclose information considering its ownership. AUA is operating between Vienna International Airport (VIA or VIE) and aerodromes in Mumbai and Delhi based on a bilateral agreement between Austria and India from 1999. Now the Indian government wants to review the cooperation considering Lufthansa’s acquisition of a major stake in AUA.
The emerging dispute bears resemblance to a feud between Austria and Russia which erupted after the takeover which took place in 2009. Russian leaders argued AUA was not an Austria airline anymore due to the deal between the German airline, AUA and the Austrian government of Social Democrats (SPÖ) and the People’s Party (ÖVP). Russia eventually allowed AUA to keep offering links between Austria and the Eurasian country. However, the current agreement is only a temporary one. It may be turned into a permanent partnership in talks set to take place next month, according to Russian business papers. The country’s decision-makers recently changed their mind on the ownership of airlines by setting up a new legal framework for aviation firms owned by enterprises based in countries which are part of the European Union (EU).
AUA co-chiefs Peter Malanik and Andreas Bierwirth kept pointing out that the airline was still an Austrian company which had its headquarters in Vienna in the confrontation with Russia. They are intending to argue in the same way in the current conflict with India’s political elite. Malanik claimed yesterday (Mon) India "learned something by watching the quarrel between Austria and Russia". The AUA manager added he was convinced his company and the Indian government would come to an agreement on whether the firm – which sustained a loss of 63 million Euros in the first six months of 2011 – was allowed to keep operating between VIA and airports in India several times a week.
Malanik said the feud was "of course" linked with Star Alliance’s rejection of an Air India application. The flag carrier wanted to become part of the world’s biggest association of airlines. However, Star Alliance – in which Lufthansa plays a dominant role – refused to take the firm on board last month. Malanik, whose company is also part of Star Alliance, explained some of Air India’s quality standards did not match the organisation’s criteria. He underlined that Star Alliance had no concerns considering the safety of Air India planes. The AUA co-chief revealed Air India fulfilled all requirements as far as security aspects were regarded.
AUA is the most important business partner of Flughafen Wien AG (FW), the company which manages VIA. The airline served 1.146 passengers in August. AUA sold almost 80 per cent of offered tickets that month, up by 3.5 per cent from August 2010.
Star Alliance boss Jaan Albrecht will join the AUA executive board next month. The German-Mexican businessman signed a four-year contract last week. "We will check every corner and identify every spot where improvements are needed," he said about his intention to turn AUA into a profitable airline last Thursday. Albrecht added: "I would not be here today were I not convinced of our chances for success. (...) AUA is and remains a quality airline Austrians can be proud of."

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