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AUA Flights to Russia Secured

Published: October 29, 2010; 14:25 · (Vindobona)

While the problem of AUA landing rights in Russia has been solved for Lufthansa until March, Austria is being accused of breach of contract by the European Commission.

AUA Flights to Russia Secured / Picture: © Austrian Arlines AG

Very shortly before the expiration of the current flying schedule, Austrian Airlines’ winter flying schedule was approved by Russia. The schedules runs from October 31, 2010 until the end of March 2011.

The nationality of the airline was the reason for the uncertainty of these last weeks. Since the takeover of AUA by the German Lufthansa, there have been difficulties with the Russian authorities, because Russia regards AUA as a German airline, and Germany already has enough landing rights, according to what has been argued so far. In the old bilateral contracts, only an "Austrian airline" was granted the licenses.

However, ownership structure was no longer an issue during the approval process, according to sources from AUA. Therefore, the contracts were extended just before the deadline.

But the landing rights in Russia not only bring problems for the Lufthansa Group, but also for Austria itself. The European Commission has opened contract infringement proceedings against the Republic of Austria because the landing rights between Russia and Austria have been previously agreed on by means of bilateral contracts. The Commission insists that all airlines be treated equally concerning landing rights in third countries, and therefore consider that they are transferable to other airlines.

Currently AUA operates services to Moscow, St. Petersburg, Krasnodar, Sochi and Rostov. There are 43 flights weekly. Since 2009, the AUA belongs fully to the Lufthansa Group.

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