Air Canada is launching a year-round service between Toronto and Vienna next week starting April 29th.
The daily flights will operate on Air Canada's flagship aircraft, the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, with the flights departing at approximately 6:30 p.m. at night and arriving in Vienna at around 8:30 a.m. in the morning.
During the winter season, from November to March 2020, flight frequency will reduce to five days a week.
The service is offered in partnership with Star Alliance joint venture partner Austrian Airlines, complimenting their Montreal-Vienna flights, which also begin this month.
Leading up to Air Canada’s inaugural Toronto-Vienna flight, Armando Mendonça, president of AMPM (which represents the Vienna Tourist Board in Canada) met with Belina Neumann, vice-president of aviation marketing and business development for Vienna Airport, to chat about Canada's rise in the Vienna market.
Armando Mendonça (AM): Tell us about your connection to Canada?
Belina Neumann (BN): In the last 15 years I have visited Canada many times, both professionally and privately, and have been back to Vancouver and Toronto several times. Actually, I did some aviation courses at McGill and Concordia in Montréal and I have some very good friends there. I definitely have grown fond of Canada and there are still a lot of places left I want to explore.
AM: Why is the Canadian market important to Vienna International Airport (VIE)?
BN: In 2018, [more than] 102,000 passengers flew from Canada to our Catchment Area. This is a significant market to us. Also, Canada offers a very interesting passenger profile: approximately 60 per cent of passengers have university degrees and almost 70 per cent are in the 35-54 years age range.
As an example, the air market between Toronto and Vienna has been growing annually at an average rate of four per cent in the last 5 years. Therefore, we are actively promoting additional direct flights between these and other cities in Canada.
Tourism from Canada to Austria has seen an increase from year to year, in 2017 we saw an increase of seven per cent and in 2018, we saw an increase of 8.3 per cent.
AM: What’s unique about Vienna, Vienna International Airport?
BN: Vienna has always been a strong market. On the one hand it is a great tourism destination in an interesting business location [while] on the other hand, we have our unique catchment area.
Within a two hours driving radius you can reach 12 million inhabitants from four countries: Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and of course Austria. For these countries, VIE is the ideal gateway. Then, there’s our geographic location within Europe. We’re in the very heart of the continent, with many cities within a two hour flight radius.
We’re the largest airport in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), having experienced impressive growth numbers with 27 million passenger arrivals – a record high.
AM: What are the best ways to get to and from Vienna Airport?
BN: Travelling into Vienna city centre is convenient – we have a non-stop express train called the City Airport Train, which lets you reach downtown Vienna in just 16 minutes. We have upgraded our railway station within our terminal building, which now offers now around 50 daily direct high-speed train connections to major cities in Austria, such as Salzburg, Graz or Innsbruck. VIE is also directly situated on the highway towards our eastern neighbours: Bratislava is a 30 minute drive away and Budapest can be reached within 2 hours.
AM: What is the future of Vienna Airport as it plans to position itself as a major hub?
BN: This year we are expecting to grow by more than five per cent, having added many new airlines such as Air Canada, Thai Airways or Eastern Europe’s primary low-cost carrier, Wizz Air as well as Level and Laudamotion, in addition to, increased capacity with new service with Austrian Airlines from Montreal to Vienna. Also, until 2023, we are investing 500 million Euro (more than $750 million CAD), into our terminal infrastructure to further enhance the passenger experience at VIE.
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