Austrian Airlines (Vienna) as of midnight July 1, 2012 moved all flight operations to lower-cost subsidiary Tyrolean Airways (Innsbruck), including all of the long-range flights. One former Lauda Air Boeing 777-2Z9 (OE-LPB) was kept on the Austrian certificate to maintain its official “airline” status.
The company issued this statement:
“As of July 1, 2012, there will be joint flight operations under the unified Austrian brand name.
The objective: achieving competitive framework conditions enabling profitable operations
All of the flight operations of the Austrian Airlines Group, which has a fleet of some 80 aircraft, are now bundled at its 100% subsidiary Tyrolean Airways. As of July 1, 2012 Tyrolean is also operating the long-distance fleet.
For customers, the so-called “operational transition” will not result in any essential changes. The “Austrian” brand will remain on all aircraft. The flight numbers will also bear the “OS” airline code, as was the case in the past. However, travel agencies and tickets will provide notification on the identity of the operator of the aircraft undertaking all medium and long-distance flights based on the supplementary annotations “VO” or “operated by Tyrolean”. The supplementary brand “arrows” found on Tyrolean Airway aircraft will successively be removed by the end of 2012.
What has happened in detail:
• Aircraft fleet: 22 airplanes of the A320 family, 7 Boeing 737s, 6 Boeing 767s and 3 Boeing 777s changed their operators within the Austrian Airlines Group on midnight of July 1, 2012. One Boeing 777, OE-LPB, will stay with Austrian Airlines. This is due to international traffic laws. The outplacement of the fleet of the seven Boeing 737 medium-range airplanes still on hand and the “in-placement” of the seven Airbus A320s forms part of the harmonization of the fleet of medium-range aircraft which is being continued.
• Organization: The organization of the entire flight operations is to be bundled in Tyrolean Airways. Austrian Airlines retains such key responsibilities as station management, the technical department, sales in Austria and abroad, as well as such management departments as network planning, personnel, finances and marketing. There will be no changes in ownership. “Tyrolean Airways Tiroler Luftfahrt GmbH” remains a 100% subsidiary of Austrian Airlines AG.
• Austrian Airlines retains its operation authorization, and remains the user of traffic rights. The flights will be performed under the OS flight numbers. However, they will be “operated by Tyrolean”. Austrian Airlines serves some 50 countries from Vienna. No further permits or licenses need to be secured in a large number of countries. This is due to the fact, amongst other reasons, because prevailing legal regulations, especially in the European Union, generally permit this. For countries outside Europe, the requisite approvals have been secured.
• Personnel: some 460 pilots and 1,500 flight attendants are changing their employer within the Group. They will be transferred from Austrian Airlines to Tyrolean Airways. 110 pilots and 214 flight attendants have, in the final analysis, left the company. As a whole, Austrian has 900 pilots and 2,000 flight attendants, including the Tyrolean employees. The employees will not experience any changes in working environments and remuneration. Tyrolean currently has a work force of about 1,500 employees, which will increase to 3,500 employees as a consequence of the operational transition. The Austrian Airlines Group employs approximately 6,700 people.
• Flight plan: to compensate for the departure of the pilots, a series of temporary measures were implemented for the summer flight plan:
• Retraining: The removal of 4 Boeing 737 airplanes from the fleet leaves 31 Boeing 737 pilots available. They have already been trained to fly Airbus A320 airplanes. The cessation of part-time work at Tyrolean has freed 36 Tyrolean co-pilots for other duties. These pilots, who were trained to fly Fokkers, have already been retrained to handle Airbus aircraft.
• Leasing of airplanes: Austrian Airlines will temporarily lease five airplanes from Lufthansa, Augsburg Airways, Contact Air und Welcome Air (wet leases). Lufthansa will provide a 139-seat Boeing 737-300 to fly the OS routes between Vienna and Düsseldorf and between Vienna and Rome in July and August. Lufthansa will assume responsibility for Vienna-Dubai-Vienna in July by flying a 241-seat Airbus 340-300. In a further move, the Salzburg-Frankfurt route, which has been served by Austrian acting under a commission from Lufthansa, will be operated by Lufthansa itself using a Boeing 737-300 for the first two weeks in July. Contact Air will fly a Fokker 100 seating 100 passengers to two of the four daily OS routes between Vienna-Zurich-Vienna and Vienna-Varna-Vienna. This aircraft would have originally been flown as a “wet lease” under a commission of Austrian’s associate SWISS. Augsburg Airways, which is part of the Lufthansa Group, will temporarily assume responsibility for one of the four flights serving the route between Vienna-Munich-Vienna and for two of the total of three flights on the Vienna-Stockholm-Vienna route during the period July 15 – August 31. 2012. Welcome Air will use a further a 31-seat Dornier 328 to carry out flights between Vienna and Klagenfurt, Salzburg and Prague, in addition to the existing four of the five flights between Linz und Vienna. Passengers will receive Austrian’s on-board services. Austrian will make use of the longer on-ground times by having Austrian Technik conduct maintenance work.
• Freelancers: Some of those pilots that have made use of the privileged termination of employment will be provided with work on a temporary and case-by-case basis.
The reorganization is based on the operational transition is a key component of the EUR 220 million restructuring program presented in January 2012. The objective of the program is the modernization of the structures of Austrian Airlines, so as to bring and sustainably keep Austria’s largest domestic airline in the profit zone.”
Bottom line: Austrian Airlines (under orders from parent Lufthansa) needed to reduce its cost structure and this dramatic move will probably accomplish this goal.
Top Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing. Sister-ship Boeing 777-2Z9 ER OE-LPC (msn 29313) is now being operated for Austrian Airlines by Tyrolean Airways.
Bottom Copyright Photo: Gerd Beilfuss. Boeing 777-2Z9 OE-LPB (msn 28699) when it was with Lauda Air.