June 24, 2020 / 12:56 PM / 16 days ago

Vienna Airport scraps landing fees to revive air traffic

VIENNA, June 24 (Reuters) - Vienna Airport plans to scrap landing fees until the end of the year to help revive air traffic and boost its revenue after the coronavirus brought it to a near standstill.

The operator said on Wednesday that it plans to reintroduce the landing tax from January 2021, but to offer a reduced fee per passenger to airlines that provide at least 65% of the capacity initially planned for 2020.

Primarily serving as a hub to southern and eastern Europe, the airport is largely dependent on Germany’s Lufthansa , which carried more than 40% of Vienna’s passengers last year and is now battling to avoid insolvency.

Normally, an airline pays a fare of 760 euros ($859) to land an Airbus A320 and fees per passenger at departure are 14 euros on average, Co-Chief Executive Julian Jaeger told Austrian daily newspaper Die Presse, which first reported the plan.

These passenger taxes could be reduced by 2 to 4 euros, depending on the destination, Jaeger said.

From mid-March to mid-June, passenger numbers at Vienna Airport had come down to nearly zero due to the global coronavirus restrictions. Since then, increasing numbers of scheduled flights are taking off again.

Last year, more than 70 airlines took off and landed in Vienna around 27,000 times in total, helping to generate 858 million euros in revenue and 176 million in profit.

The group has no forecast for this year. ($1 = 0.8849 euros) (Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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