Austrian Airlines Implements Further Restructuring Measures in Response to the Protracted Pandemic
Austrian Airlines is expanding their multi-year anti-crisis program put in place in 2020 with further restructuring measures, including the parking of two additional aircraft and a 50 percent reduction in Head Office space.
On Thursday (March 25, 2021), Austrian Airlines announced an expansion of their multi-year anti-crisis plan, introduced in 2020, with further restructuring measures due to the protracted course of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The carrier’s fleet optimization program, announced in the spring of 2020, is in the final implementation phase. Flight traffic has also been concentrated in Vienna, resulting in the termination of all crew and technical bases in the federal provinces, as well as some passenger handling stations. The carrier has also reached agreements with team members, suppliers and system partners to ensure long-term profitability and the airline’s ability to repay loans. Additionally, Austrian recently announced a reduction in Head Office infrastructure, where four of the company’s eight floors at Vienna Airport have been returned to the operating company, Flughafen Wien AG.
Speaking on the additional fiscal responsibility measures, Austrian Airlines’ CEO, Alexis von Hoensbroech, said,
“We are aware of our responsibility to the Austrian population and want to repay our debt as quickly as possible as soon as a market recovery sets in. The pandemic is lasting significantly longer than expected, and the effects will be felt for several years. That is why we will not be able to achieve the earnings targets, which we defined last spring. For this reason, we are implementing further measures now in order to sustainably safeguard the future of our Austrian Airlines. In spite of this unprecedented crisis, we want to secure as many jobs as possible. But one thing is certain, Austrian Airlines will be completely different after the crisis. The company will be leaner, more digitalized and more modern and reconnect Austria with the world with its long-haul hub.”
Elaborating on the company’s current outlook, Austrian Airlines’ Member of the Executive Board and Chief Commercial Officer, Michael Trestl, added,
“Our liquidity cushion continues to be good, and we have faith that there will be a market recovery in the summer of 2021. We expect a sufficient number of people will be vaccinated throughout Europe by that time so that travelling will not have to go hand in hand with travel restrictions and travel bans any longer. The booking situation for this year’s holiday season is showing a positive development. The offering of long-haul flights will also be increased starting at Easter. New bookings for the peak season are being registered every day, for example, lately a 50 percent increase in new bookings for June through August in the last two weeks, compared to bookings in January for the same period. In turn, this makes the management of Austria’s flag carrier optimistic for the future. One will hardly be able to hold people back from travelling thanks to the digital Green Pass in their bags.”
As previously mentioned, Austrian Airlines will park two additional aircraft, reducing their current fleet of 80 aircraft to 58, at least until 2024/2025. The carrier has also reduced their total staff by 650 full-time positions until the end of February 2021, through natural attrition and plans to cut an additional 650 positions by 2023. Austrian Airlines is currently evaluating the possibility of part-time work models to temporarily reduce personnel capacity, as the company remains committed to preserving as many jobs as possible.
Source: Austrian Airlines