Flight OS 446, taking off from Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport and bound for Vienna, was set for 3:30 pm last Saturday, April 1. It is the first of three weekly direct flights by Austrian Airlines bringing Porto and the Austrian capital closer, an investment by Lufthansa that has Invicta as the only city in Portugal to be served by all the group's companies. There are already 12 flights every day.
For the Councillor for Tourism and Internationalisation, the arrival of Austrian Airlines is “an important milestone” as, by bringing Porto closer, not only to Austria, but to all of Central Europe, “it is strategic for our sustainable growth vision of the city's tourism.”.
“From holidays to business trips, from tourists to investors, this new route will bring new opportunities and ambitions,” said Catarina Santos Cunha at the presentation of the operation, on Friday morning, at Praia da Luz.
On the other hand, said the Councilperson, Lufthansa's commitment to Porto – 35% more flights and 400,000 more seats this summer than in the pre-pandemic period - is a reflection of how the city “has been affirming its status as one of the most dynamic and attractive destinations in Europe and central to the airlines' growth strategy.”.
“The Porto Municipality is committed to remaining a strategic partner, supporting and encouraging the investment of the Lufthansa Group in our destination on a journey of growth and competitive advantage,” said Catarina Santos Cunha.
When asked about the Municipality's strategy to respond to TAP's lack of investment at Francisco Sá Carneira Airport, the Tourism and Internationalisation councillor said “we have been working hard on the alternatives, and we are satisfied with the result.”
Porto is a smart decision
Able to take 180 passengers on each flight, the Airbus 320 will fly between Porto and Vienna every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, an operation, assures the general sales director of the Lufthansa Group, “that has already been set in the system for the whole year, not just in the summer”. “We are a trusted partner; this is to stay and to grow,” said Thomas Ahlers.
The person in charge was assertive in stating that “Porto is the most important city for the group in Portugal”, and the investment on this destination was related to “the potential, the opportunity, and the expected return on investment.”.
“Porto offers a better product as a destination” and has already proven to be “the smart decision” says Thomas Ahlers, and the proof is in the number of bookings already scheduled, whether for tourism or business trips.
Austrian Airlines brand experience director, Sebastian Lüttmann, said the airline's “rapid recovery” is being invested in the mission of “flying emission-free by 2050.”.
“I'm very proud to see this first connection between the Danube and the Douro” said the Austrian ambassador to Portugal, Christoph Meran, recalling the importance of the relationship between Portugal and that country, namely in the area of business, but also with regard to “daily tourism records.”.
Austria's honorary consul, Tomás Moreira, was happy that “thousands of people between Vigo and Coimbra stopped having long stopovers” when travelling to destinations in Eastern Europe.
(“Servus” is a German word, popular in Austria and Bavaria, meaning “Greetings” and can be used to say both “hello” and “goodbye”)