ÖBB has struggled financially for several years, posting losses of €28m in 2011 and €329m in 2010.

Kern said that the passenger division profited from rising road fuel prices and significant increases in ridership have been reported in and around urban areas. Long distance ticket sales rose by 3% although revenue increased less due to a higher proportion of discount fares. ÖBB has heavily discounted ticket prices on its flagship Vienna – Salzburg route in an effort to compete with Westbahn.

Freight subsidiary Rail Cargo Austria (RCA) also improved its performance, although it says it is still feeling the impact of the economic downturn in Italy, Slovenia, Hungary and Romania.