Austrian Airlines is making sweeping changes to its network over the coming months that will see its flights from Vienna to Hong Kong get the chop at the end of October, whilst adding an extra weekly flight to its Beijing and Shanghai services.
The dropping of Hong Kong from its network is a surprising move from Austrian, and a curious reversal of its strategy from 2016, when it first launched the route.
Austrian axed its Vienna-Tokyo service back in September 2016, which by then had become unprofitable due to Japan’s economic slowdown and the decline in value of the Japanese yen, before launching its Hong Kong flights the very next day.
Fast-forward two years, however, and Austrian revived its Tokyo flights in mid-May, and will now be dropping Hong Kong due to “network optimisation reasons”, according to a statement from the airline.
At the relaunch of the airline’s services to Tokyo earlier this year, meanwhile, Austrian’s senior director of sales for Austria and Slovakia, Stephan Linhart, said that the market conditions that had precipitated the decision to cut the route in 2016 are now “significantly better”.
And Tokyo isn’t Austrian’s only destination in Asia that looks to be showing promise. Both the airline’s four-times-weekly flights to Beijing and Shanghai are getting an extra flight per week, bringing the services’ frequencies up to five times per week.
Travellers flying between Hong Kong and Vienna will instead have to make use of flights to Frankfurt, Munich and Zurich operated by fellow Lufthansa Group carriers Lufthansa and Swiss.
Lufthansa recently began flying its largest aircraft, the Airbus A380 superjumbo, on its flights between Munich and Hong Kong. The carrier currently flies the route once a day, though this will drop to a five-times-weekly offering during the upcoming winter schedule.