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How Vienna as an air traffic hub will develop in the next 10 years


Sommersemester 2019 - Austrian Airlines


Problem definition

Austrian Airlines is the former state-owned and still Austria's largest airline. Vienna International Airport is the airline's central hub. Passenger numbers at Vienna International Airport have been on the rise in recent years , and there have been repeated claims about the need for a third runway; Austrian Airlines also has a more competitive market due to the entry of an above average number of  LCC competitors. Austrian Airlines contacted WU's team to obtain a forecast of how Vienna International Airport will develop as a hub over the next ten years and the implications of these developments for the airline's route network planning.


The aim of this E&I course was to develop four different scenarios on how the economic and socio-demographic future in general and Vienna International Airport as a hub for Austrian Airlines in particular may develop over the next ten years. On the basis of these scenarios, strategic recommendations for Austrian Airlines' route network planning were to be made.


As a first step, a comprehensive trend analysis was carried out. This analysis was intended to provide an overview of the trends that would be crucial for determining the development of Vienna International Airport over the next ten years. In the course of the trend analysis, a special focus was placed on expert interviews and secondary research in order to identify significant trends.

In a second step, two "macro trends" were worked out from the identified trends, which all "micro trends" had in common. It turned out that it was possible for all "microtrends" to elaborate the degree of globalisation and the willingness of society to innovate. The characteristics of these two "macro trends" were then graphically represented in a coordinate system.

In the next step, a scenario was outlined for each quadrant of the coordinate system (and thus for each expression of the two "macro trends"). The expression of each individual "microtrend" was presented in a table for each scenario. In addition, a "scenario narrative" was compiled to show how the Vienna Airport Hub would evolve in each scenario in the future.

Outcome and implications

In the course of the project, it became clear that each of the identified scenarios held completely different challenges for Austrian Airlines' route network planning. Depending on whether, for example, the degree of networking with foreign countries would be high or low, the route network would have to take this into account.

In the final presentation with the project partner, the focus was on the three most realistic scenarios and for each scenario the strengths and weaknesses of Austrian Airlines were worked out in the form of a SWOT analysis.

Finally, the most important trends and red flags of the respective scenarios were summarised again and on this basis recommendations were made as to which regions of the world Austrian Airlines should consider to expand or reduce its route network in each scenario.

Cooperation Partner

  • Austrian Airlines AG
    Office Park 2
    A-1300 Wien-Flughafen


Contact Person

  • Mag. Walter Reimann

  • Alexandra Goldschmidt


Student team

  • Charlotte Rohde

  • Gudrun Zechner

  • Jan Augenstein

  • Thomas Liegl

  • Rares Retegan



  • Carola Wandres, M.Sc.


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