Austrian Airlines announced on Tuesday a plan for a new start as soon as travel restrictions are lifted. The carrier will return at around 80 percent capacity and will retire 18 Dash turboprops, 7 Airbus A319s and three of six Boeing 767s by 2022.
Yesterday (April 21, 2020), Austrian Airlines announced a plan to return to service (RTS) after travel restrictions are lifted at about 80 percent of pre-crisis capacity. Except for special repatriation and cargo flights, the carrier temporarily grounded most operations on March 18, 2020. Although an exact RTS date is currently unknown, the airline expects demand to fall by 25-50 percent this year and reach a maximum of 75 percent of pre-crisis levels in 2022. In Tuesday’s announcement Austrian Airlines’ Executive Board Member, Andreas Otto said,
“The entire airline industry is pessimistic. We have to assume that we will reach the ‘pre-corona level’ again in 2023 at the earliest.” In relation to the carrier’s fleet optimization plan, Mr. Otto continued, “We will part with the oldest and smallest aircraft…also for ecological reasons."
In a digital meeting with Austrian’s 7,000 team members Tuesday, the company outlined their plan for a new start as the virus is under control and travel restrictions are eased. In order to optimize their fleet with expected demand levels, the carrier will retire 18 Dash turboprops (started in 2019), seven Airbus A319s and three of six Boeing 767s by 2022. The retiring B767s include tail numbers OE-LAT, OE-LAW and OE-LAX and have an average of 28 years old. After these older aircraft are retired, Austrian Airlines will have both a younger and more fuel-efficient fleet of 60 aircraft, down from a pre-crisis level of 80 aircraft. Also commenting on Tuesday’s announcement, Austrian Airlines’ CEO, Alexis von Hoensbroech added,
“We got into this crisis through no fault of our own. Now it is our responsibility to make Austrian Airlines fir for the future after Corona. We want to retain our long-haul hub, even if we have no other choice for the time being but to adapt to the somewhat smaller market. Being fit for the future also means that we must be in a position to finance our aircraft, charges, wages and investments, and of course also to repay and charges and loans from Corona grounding. We now have a plan, and hope for the support of everyone involved”
Source: Austrian Airlines