Gulf airlines move into Vienna

17 Oct 2014 by Alex McWhirter

Two leading Gulf airlines, namely Emirates and Qatar Airways, already serve Vienna.

But two more will appear on the scene in the weeks ahead, perfectly timed for the busy travel season to Asia and Australasia.

First on the scene will be Etihad which will code-share with a new daily service to be operated by Niki (a subsidiary of Air Berlin which in turn partners with Etihad) starting on November 24.

Flights with Niki will be operated by a narrow-body A320 with 12 seats in business and 132 seats in economy class.

Etihad’s new service is aimed both at passengers on business and leisure. Timings are geared towards making convenient connections in Abu Dhabi for onward points both in the Gulf itself, Asia and Australia.

Next on the scene will be Flydubai which is the low-cost subsidiary of Emirates. Flights start on December 6.

It will operate twice weekly to Dubai with a narrow-body B737-800 with business and economy seating. 

But instead of departing Vienna, Flydubai will take off from the nearby Slovakian capital of Bratislava (roughly 65 kms away along the Danube from Vienna). For a flight review of Flydubai, visit this report on

The narrow-bodied A320s and B737s used by Niki and Air Berlin will not offer the same levels of onboard ambience as you would find on a wide-bodied plane. 

For example, Emirates operates out of Dubai with a large B777-300ER while Qatar Airways uses a B787 Dreamliner.

But on the other hand the flight time from Vienna is under six hours  (less than flying from many other European capitals) and these two new services do provide more choice.

All this extra capacity poses a challenge for national carrier Austrian Airlines which is part of the Lufthansa group. 

Austrian’s sole Gulf destination is Dubai which it serves with a two-class B767 on a number of days every week.  And it remains to be seen how well it will compete in the months ahead.

Alex McWhirter

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