Category Archives: Austrian Airlines

Austrian outlines its upcoming leisure and business routes

Austrian Airlines Airbus A320-214 OE-LBP (msn 797) AYT (Ton Jochems). Image: 954986.

Austrian Airlines made this announcement:

In the coming summer season, Austrian Airlines will be offering a selection of charter destinations that are currently available via Austrian Holidays as scheduled flights. The destinations Antalya, Catania, Ibiza, Palma de Mallorca, Keflavik and Mykonos, which were part of the domestic airline’s charter program this year, can now be booked as regular Austrian Airlines flights for the summer season 2022 (Palma de Mallorca is already available as a scheduled flight for the winter season 2021/22). Flights to Málaga and partly also flights to Naples have been changed to scheduled flights already.

This adjustment enables closer integration with the rest of the Austrian Airlines route network. All customer benefits of the Austrian Airlines range of scheduled services apply to the new routes offered as scheduled flights. Passengers can now choose between Economy and Business Class booking categories for these popular holiday destinations. As on all Austrian Airlines continental flights under three hours, Economy Class customers will also benefit from the products of the Austrian Melangerie on these routes.

As of the end of October, Austrian Airlines will once again fly to popular warm water destinations such as Mauritius and the Maldives several times a week as part of the 2021/22 winter flight schedule. From 24 October, Cancún on the Mexican Caribbean coast will be added as a new destination.

On the business side, the airline made this announcement:

After a year and a half of pandemic, work from home, remote tools, hybrid working and video conferencing are part of the familiar working world. Even if new working methods have established themselves, personal contact with customers, business partners and employees in international branches is missing. This is why many business professionals are now increasingly taking business trips again. At Austrian Airlines, demand is increasing, especially for destinations in neighboring countries like Germany and Switzerland.

“With our route network, private and business travelers can fly to over 70 destinations within Europe with more than 700 departures per week since the beginning of September. We also offer intercontinental flights, for example to the US, and we hope that Europeans will soon be able to enter the country,” says Austrian Airlines COO Michael Trestl.

In addition to hygiene and security measures, suitable flight times are particularly relevant for business travelers within Europe. The majority of European business destinations are available daily, in some cases up to three times a day, and are served by Austrian Airlines at the start and end of the day with direct connections from the Vienna hub. With New York, Washington, Chicago, Bangkok, Shanghai, Tokyo, Tel Aviv and, starting from October, Montreal, Austrian Airlines also has long-haul destinations for business travelers in its flight program. In addition, the other airlines within the Lufthansa Group and their hubs provide access to further attractive destinations worldwide. However, with a few exceptions, travel restrictions still apply to Austrians to many intercontinental destinations.

With the AIRail offer from Linz, Salzburg or Graz central station, the provincial capitals are intermodally connected to the hub at Vienna Airport. AIRail passengers can now also check in their luggage during the train journey from Linz and Salzburg and proceed directly to the gate at Vienna Airport as part of a pilot phase until the end of October.

Top Copyright Photo: Austrian Airlines Airbus A320-214 OE-LBP (msn 797) AYT (Ton Jochems). Image: 954986.

Austrian Airlines aircraft slide show:

Austrian Airlines records rising booking figures

"Marchfield"

Austrian Airlines has made this announcement:

• CCO Michael Trestl: “Eased travel regulations and rising vaccination rates have quadrupled our bookings”
• Greece, Spain and Italy among the most popular destinations
• Austrian Airlines continues to offer full flexibility in rebooking and security

With a rising vaccination rate and easings of entry regulations in many European countries, Austrians are feeling the urge to travel again. The desire of finally putting their feet in the sand again is big. This was also made clear during the Corpus Christi weekend, which many passengers used for a short holiday in the south. Greece, Spain and Italy were the top three destinations. Because of the increased demand in flights, Austrian Airlines deployed larger aircraft than planned on short notice and added extra flights.

A glance at the months from June to August also gives the red-white-red home carrier cause for optimism. “Demand is increasing daily, and new bookings on many routes have quadrupled since mid-May. It is also noticeable that bookings are increasingly being made on a longer-term basis,” reports Austrian Airlines Sales Director Michael Trestl. For summer holidays, Mediterranean destinations such as Greece, Cyprus, Italy and Spain including Mallorca are among the most popular destinations. “The booking dynamics show that we are meeting the travel needs of Austrians very well with our summer flight schedule, which mainly serves inner-European destinations in the Mediterranean. With a total of more than 100 destinations, we are offering a variety of destinations at pre-crisis levels in midsummer,” says CCO Michael Trestl. Of course, not all destinations are yet served with the usual frequency again, but the production level in the tourist sector is back at the pre-crisis level. “With the recently announced travel easings for the return from Cyprus, Croatia, the Netherlands and Sweden, as well as with the Green Pass coming into effect, we are expecting further growth in bookings,” says Trestl.
Top Copyright Photo: Austrian Airlines Airbus A320-214 OE-LBI (msn 1937) ZRH (Rolf Wallner). Image: 953896.
Austrian Airlines aircraft slide show:

Austrian Airlines operates the last turboprop flight, retires the last DHC-8-402 (Q400)

Austrian Airlines Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) OE-LGI (msn 4100)  ZRH (Paul Bannwarth). Image: 922914.

Austrian Airlines on May 31, 2021 operated the last Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) turboprop flight from Innsbruck to Vienna.

Austrian Airlines made this announcement:

• The last turboprop flight was the OS 905/6 from Vienna to Innsbruck and back
• Dash aircraft were an integral part of Austrian aviation for over 40 years
• “The Dash is and will remain part of our history”, says Austrian Airlines COO Francesco Sciortino

It is the end of an impressive era. On May 31, 2021 Austrian Airlines operated a passenger flight with a turboprop aircraft for the last time. The Dash 8-Q400 with the registration OE-LGI flew as OS 905/6 from Vienna to Innsbruck and back. After more than 40 years, this marks the end of the Dash’s time in Austria. The future Austrian Airlines fleet will consist entirely of Airbus, Boeing and Embraer aircraft.

“The Dash has had an impressive career in our company, it is and will remain part of our history. We will not forget that. I would like to thank everyone who has served the Dash aircraft over the past decades, from the cabin and cockpit crews, to the technician team and many more”, says Austrian Airlines COO Francesco Sciortino.

“At peak times, the Dash 8-Q400 completed up to 44,000 individual flights per year”, says Austrian Airlines Dash fleet manager Thomas Bleimuth. “With this type of aircraft, it was also possible to fly to particularly demanding locations. For example, Tyrolean Airways used to fly the four-engined Dash 7 to Courchevel in the French Alps, an airfield at over 2,000 meters above sea level.”

Airline Color Scheme - Introduced 1985

Above Copyright Photo: Tyrolean Austrian Regional (Tyrolean Airways) de Havilland Canada DHC-7-102 Dash 7 OE-LLU (msn 113) INN (Jacques Guillem Collection). Image: 946654.
On April 9, 1980, the story of the Dash began not only in Austria, but all of Europe. At that time, Tyrolean Airways was the first European airline to take delivery of the first Dash 8 predecessor, a De Havilland Canada DHC-7 Dash 7. With its excellent short-landing characteristics, the 50-seat regional aircraft was ideally suited for use at difficult airports such as Innsbruck or Courchevel.

Tyrolean Airways de Havilland Canada DHC-8-311 Dash 8 OE-LTM (msn 527) ZRH (Richard Vandervord). Image: 946656.

Above Copyright Photo: Tyrolean Airways de Havilland Canada DHC-8-311 Dash 8 OE-LTM (msn 527) ZRH (Richard Vandervord). Image: 946656.

From 1985, Tyrolean Airways used the twin-engined successor model Dash 8-100 on flights to Graz, Frankfurt and Zurich. Until the complete takeover of the Tyrolean carrier by Austrian Airlines in 1998, a total of 44 different Dash 8s of the -100, -300 and -400 series flew for Tyrolean.

At Austrian Airlines, 18 Dash 8-Q400s were last in service on short-haul routes, for example on flights from Vienna to Milan, Warsaw or Zagreb. After almost 20 years of operation at Austria’s home carrier, this aircraft type alone can boast some impressive figures:

• Over 20 million passengers have flown on the Dash 8-Q400 in the last 20 years.
• The Dash 8-Q400 has flown 237 million kilometers – accident-free. That is 310 flights to the moon and back.
• Our Dash 8-Q400s have spent a combined 54 years in the air.
• During their career, the aircraft completed more than 520,000 safe landings.
• During their pre-flight checks, the Dash 8-Q400 pilots covered more than 52,000 kilometers on foot – that is 20 circumnavigations of Austria.
Videos:
Top Copyright Photo: Austrian Airlines Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) OE-LGI (msn 4100) ZRH (Paul Bannwarth). Image: 922914.
Austrian Airlines aircraft slide show:

Austrian Airlines insists on a global digital travel certificate

"Marchfield"

Austrian Airlines made this announcement:

• End of “Pre Travel Clearance” to reduce the bureaucracy of traveling
• EU agreement on a uniform corona certificate from 1 July onwards as an essential step
• CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech: “A globally recognized solution must follow in order to give aviation a full boost”

Just in time for the start of the summer holiday season, Austria announced further easing of the current entry regulations. From 10 June onwards, a mandatory “Pre Travel Clearance” will only be required from people entering from a high-incidence and virus variant area. Previously, the European Union had agreed on a uniform certificate for corona vaccinations, tests and recovery. The digitally readable document is intended to make traveling across the EU easier and to put an end to the differently managed regulations for entering EU countries from 1 July.

With the global vaccination rate rising and the number of infections falling, the focus lies increasingly on restoring global freedom of travel. This is also reflected in the demand for flight tickets to the North Atlantic region this summer. “It is important that the EU Covid certificate is now followed by a globally recognized solution in order to give aviation a full boost. Travel is a basic need. People long for new experiences and for reunions with family, friends and business partners”, emphasizes Alexis von Hoensbroech.

Last but not least, transatlantic air traffic is a driving economic factor. The prospect easing air travel is therefore essential. An international Covid certificate would give aviation an important uplift and enable a return to more flight connections and services at pre-crisis levels.

In other news, the Austrian federal government has once again imposed a landing ban on flights from the United Kingdom. This will initially apply from June 1-20, 2021 inclusive.

Finally, the airline has announced that Russia had not allowed its flight from Vienna to Moscow to land in Moscow without flying through Belarusian airspace.

European airlines are being urged to avoid flying over Belarus.

Austrian Airlines fleet

 

The Austrian Airlines fleet currently consists of 83 aircraft, which are divided into the long-haul fleet and the short and medium-haul fleet.

Boeing 777-200ER

The modern wide-bodied aircraft has the longest range in the world and carries you to Shanghai or nonstop to Cape Town. The spacious cabin and sophisticated equipment make long-haul flights a relaxed experience.

Boeing 767-300ER

The Boeing 767 is a little smaller than the Boeing 777, but is also used on long-haul flights. Austrian has six of these aircraft in its fleet, which fly to destinations such as Washington, Beijing or Montreal.

Airbus A321-211

The Airbus A321-211 is valued for its high fuel efficiency and low noise and emissions values. It is ideal for short and medium-haul flights, and is mainly used for European and Middle Eastern routes.

Airbus A321-111

With a length of 44.5 metres, the Airbus A321-111 is the biggest brother in the A320 family. It is mainly used on short and medium-haul flights, such as those to Finland or Germany.

Airbus A320-200

From 1987, the Airbus 320 was the first passenger aircraft to be completely controlled by the fly-by-wire system, which was revolutionary at the time. This digital control technology is now standard. The Airbus is ideal for flights with a range of up to 3,600 kilometres.

Airbus A319-111

The Airbus A319-111 has a length of 33.8 meters, making it one of the smallest aircraft in the Airbus family. It is used for destinations up to 3,000 kilometres. For example, it flies to Innsbruck and Sofia.

Embraer 195

The Embraer 195 offers a surprising amount of space on short and medium-haul flights: thanks to the generous aisle height and seat width, up to 120 passengers can travel in exceptional comfort. Austrian uses these aircraft to fly to destinations such as Amsterdam or Venice.

Bombardier Q400

In the areas of environmental sustainability, efficiency and convenience, the Q Series from Bombardier sets new standards. You can enjoy this travel experience at Austrian on European routes.

 

Top Copyright Photo: Austrian Airlines Airbus A320-214 OE-LBI (msn 1937) ZRH (Rolf Wallner). Image: 953896.

Austrian Airlines aircraft slide show:

Austrian Airlines to focus on holiday destinations this summer

Austrian Airlines Airbus A321-211 OE-LBD (msn 920) FRA (Marcelo F. De Biasi). Image: 947624.

Austrian Airlines has made this announcement concerning its summer schedule:

• Increased services to tourist destinations
• Focus on Greece, Italy, Spain and many other holiday destinations
• “Travel facilitations are helping us”, says CCO Michael Trestl

At the same time as the relaxed entry rules enter into force in Austria and many European countries, Austrian Airlines is ramping up its tourist offer.

Austria’s home carrier is initially launching classic destinations such as Crete and Rhodes for the upcoming long weekend. Additionally, there are more flights to Athens and Thessaloniki.

In June, further destinations such as Chania, Karpathos, Palma de Mallorca, Santorini, Skiathos and Zakynthos will follow.

From July onwards, further routes such as Cagliari, Catania, Funchal, Gran Canaria, Ibiza, Kalamata, Mykonos, Naples, Olbia or Tenerife round off the offer. In total, Austrian Airlines is offering more than 100 destinations this summer – of which, with around 30 destinations, the clear focus is on holiday destinations in the Mediterranean region.


No more quarantine for many countries

As of Wednesday, May 19, 2021, quarantine will be no longer mandatory for many countries when entering Austria. It will be replaced by compulsory proof of vaccination, testing or recovery. This applies to Germany, Greece, Italy and Spain, among others.

Concurrently, these countries have also eased their entry restrictions. In Greece, passengers no longer have to quarantine upon arrival. Travelers entering the country only have to register and carry a vaccination certificate or a PCR test certificate. In Italy, the previous quarantine obligation for passengers has expired as well. In Spain, depending on the country of origin, passengers now also only have to carry proof of testing. Guests on all Austrian Airlines scheduled flights to Germany, Greece and Spain also have the possibility to upload corona-related travel documents and having them checked in advance. The voluntary upload is possible up to 12 hours prior flight departure. The result of the pre-check will be transmitted via e-mail no later than four hours before departure. In combination with the flexible and fee-free rebooking options offered by Austrian Airlines, passengers can thus plan their holidays without any worries.

Travel to Germany picks up speed again

In addition to the eased entry regulations at tourist destinations, Germany has also relaxed its travel requirements. Again, the quarantine requirement is replaced by mandatory proof of vaccination, testing or recovery, unless travelers are coming from a high incidence or virus variant area. Antigen tests no older than 48 hours and PCR tests no older than 72 hours are accepted.

Top Copyright Photo: Austrian Airlines Airbus A321-211 OE-LBD (msn 920) FRA (Marcelo F. De Biasi). Image: 947624.

Austrian Airlines aircraft slide show:

Austrian Airlines to fly Milan-Linate Airport starting on June 1

The 1958 retro jet is repainted

Austrian Airlines has made this announcement:

• Change from Milan-Malpensa to Linate Airport near the city center
• From June 1, two flights a day – morning and evening
• “Much more comfortable for our passengers”, says CCO Michael Trestl


From June 1, 2021, Austrian Airlines will be flying to Linate Airport, which is close to the city center. This will result in significantly shorter travel times for passengers to and from the airport. Milan’s city center can be reached by public transport within half an hour. Business travelers from Milan in particular prefer Linate Airport. From June, two flights a day will be available on the route to Vienna, one in the morning, one in the evening. Milan-Malpensa will no longer be served from June 1 in favor of Linate.

“Linate is much more comfortable for our passengers, especially for business travelers from Milan and the surrounding area”, says CCO Michael Trestl. A mix of Embraer 195s and A320 family aircraft will be used on the route.

Overview on flight details

Route                           Flight number             Flight days            Departure – Arrival (Local time)
Vienna – Milan-Linate     OS 491                      daily                     08:05 a.m. – 09:30 a.m.
OS 497                      daily                      5:45 p.m. – 7:10 p.m.
Milan-Linate – Vienna     OS 492                      daily                     10:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
OS 498                       daily                     7:55 p.m. – 9:25 p.m.

Top Copyright Photo: Austrian Airlines Airbus A320-214 OE-LBP (msn 797) ZRH (Andi Hiltl). Image: 947826.

Austrian Airlines aircraft slide show:

Austrian Airlines welcomes initiatives to restore travel normality

"Moscow"

Austrian Airlines issued this statement:

• Soon end of mandatory quarantine is cornerstone for freedom of travel
• AUA summer flight schedule focuses on European holiday destinations
• CCO Trestl: “Rapid introduction of the Green Passport as a prerequisite for summer travel”

As State Secretary Magnus Brunner also emphasized in his press conference, corona-related entry restrictions are still slowing down air travel in Europe and worldwide. Austrian Airlines therefore welcomes the federal government’s initiatives to make summer travel more normal. “The rapid introduction of the Green Passport is a prerequisite for a return to more freedom of travel in the summer and will send a clear signal in this direction,” said CCO Michael Trestl. “Above all, the associated elimination of mandatory quarantine upon re-entry is essential to make summer travel easier for passengers.”

Since the Green Passport will initially be limited to the EU level in the sense of a uniform travel certificate, Austrian Airlines is increasingly focusing on Mediterranean destinations, especially in Greece and Spain, with its 2021 summer flight schedule. “By the beginning of summer at the latest, passengers should be able to travel flexibly and quarantine-free to the beach and back. As soon as there is a corresponding solution for international travel, we expect growth and catch-up effects there as well,” says Trestl.

Austrian Airlines is currently also offering more flexibility for passengers with its fee-free rebooking service. If a booking is made and a ticket issued by 31 May, the rebooking fee is waived, regardless of the fare booked. Even after the end of May, another fee-free rebooking is still possible.

On the Austrian Airlines website, passengers can find information on the topics of traveling in times of Corona, the obligation to wear a mask, country-specific travel regulations or flexible rebooking arrangements. The information is supplemented on an ongoing basis.
In other news, from October 24, 2021, Austrian Airlines will be taking off twice a week for Cancun in sunny Mexico. The last flight to this vacation destination was in 2006.
Top Copyright Photo: Austrian Airlines Airbus A319-112 OE-LDD (msn 2416) ZRH (Rolf Wallner). Image: 953411.
Austrian Airlines aircraft slide show:

Austrian Airlines launches flights to Zaporizhzhia

Austrian Airlines will fly to Zaporizhzhia in Ukraine from May 17, 2021. The route is being offered for the first time and will be served three times a week with an Embraer 195.

An increase to a daily connection is planned in the course of the summer. Austria’s home carrier is thus strengthening its presence in Ukraine. In addition to Zaporizhzhia, the program already includes Kyiv, Lviv and Odesa.

On April 1, 1991, Austrian Airlines flew to Ukraine for the first time. The destination was Kyiv.

Route                           Flight number   Flight days                           Departure – Arrival (Local time)
Vienna – Zaporizhzhia    OS 679            Monday, Wednesday, Friday   10:35 a.m. – 1:45 p.m.
Zaporizhzhia – Vienna    OS 680            Monday, Wednesday, Friday    2:30 p.m. – 3:50 p.m.

Austrian Airlines implements further restructuring measures including the loss of 650 jobs

Austrian Airlines has been forced to make further cuts:

Austria’s red-white-red flag carrier has used the challenging months of the coronavirus crisis to make extensive preparations for the future. Issues such as the redimensioning of the fleet announced in spring 2020, in which the airline is divesting itself of smaller types of aircraft such as the Dash 8 and Airbus A319 planes, are in the final implementation phase.

The centralization of flight traffic in Vienna and the related termination of all crew and technical bases in the federal provinces along with several passenger handling stations is also proceeding as planned. Comprehensive multi-year anti-crisis packages were put together in 2020 on the basis of agreements reached with the staff as well as suppliers and system partners in order to ensure a favorable long-term earnings development and the airline’s ability to repay loans.

Austrian Airlines also recently announced a reduction of its office infrastructure, in which four out of eight floors of the Austrian Airlines Head Office are given back to the Vienna Airport operating company Flughafen Wien AG.

“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”, explains Austrian Airlines CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech.

Prolonged duration of the crisis requires further measures

Like many other companies in the country, Austrian Airlines is fighting its way back to normalcy. “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”, states von Hoensbroech.

The Austrian Airlines CEO is referring, amongst other measures, to renewed adjustments made to the fleet plan, presented to employees in a virtual town hall meeting today. In order to limit the risk arising from a slower market recovery, two further Airbus aircraft will be relegated to long-term parking. Accordingly, the current total fleet of about 80 aircraft will be reduced even more to 58 instead of the originally planned number of 60 planes, at least until 2024/25. The airline also plans to increase fleet productivity at the same time. Together with a large number of other measures, this will also impact the mathematical surplus of personnel after the crisis. The national airline already cut back on its total staff by 650 full-time positions up until the end of February 2021 through natural attrition.

However, Austrian Airlines will have to further reduce its personal capacities by cutting more than 650 additional jobs by the year 2023. This will not be achievable in all areas by means of natural attrition. The company maintains its goal of laying off as few people as possible. With this in mind, the airline is assessing the possibility of part-time work models to temporarily reduce personnel capacity. “In spite of this unprecedented crisis, we want to secure as many jobs as possible”, CEO von Hoensbroech emphasizes. 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”, he adds.

Increase in bookings for the summer of 2021 gives cause for optimism

“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 traveling will not have to go hand in hand with travel restrictions and travel bans any longer”, explains Michael Trestl, Member of the Executive Board and Chief Commercial Officer. 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 traveling thanks to the digital Green Pass in their bags”, Trestl concludes.

Coronavirus crisis pushes Austrian Airlines results in 2020 deep into the red

Austrian Airlines issued this financial report:

Finance Results

• Adjusted EBIT declines from EUR 19 million to minus EUR 319 million
• Standstill in flight operations leads to 79 percent passenger decline vs. 2019
• CEO von Hoensbroech: “’Green Pass’ should give the green light for travelling in the summer of 2021”

The coronavirus crisis and the three-month standstill in flight operations have pushed the annual results of Austrian Airlines for 2020 deep into the red. The country’s national airline reported a loss of minus EUR 319 million in the coronavirus year. In comparison, Austrian Airlines still generated a profit in 2019, reporting an adjusted EBIT of EUR 19 million. The 79 percent pandemic-related decrease in the number of passengers flying with the red-white-red flag carrier to 3.1 million passengers abruptly halted the steep growth of passenger volume.

“Naturally, the standstill in flight operations in 2020 also led to a standstill in our accounts. This crisis which we were sucked into through no fault of our own catapulted us from a financially stable situation to the most challenging time in the history of aviation. We would not be able to survive this crisis without loans, government aid and support in the form of contributions made by employees, suppliers and system partners”, explains Austrian Airlines CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech.

All results in detail

The path back to normality will remain a difficult one for Austrian Airlines. When flight operations were resumed in mid-June 2020 after an interruption of 100 days, bookings increased rapidly and the flight offering quickly rose to 30 percent of normal levels. However, Austria’s national carrier was once again given the red card by the pandemic in September of last year. The growth in infection rates as well as many new travel restrictions and renewed lockdowns thwarted the upward development of Austrian Airlines and the entire aviation sector.

For this reason, revenue of Austria’s flag carrier in the entire year 2020 fell by 78 percent to EUR 460 million, down from EUR 2,108 million in 2019. Total operating revenue in 2020 was down 69 percent to EUR 672 million compared to EUR 2,181 million in the previous year. Total operating revenue in 2020 includes EUR 150 million in emergency aid granted by the Austrian Federal Government to help the airline overcome the coronavirus crisis. In the same period, total operating expenditures were reduced by 54 percent to EUR 991 million from the prior-year level of EUR 2,164 million. In addition to short time work, the deferred payment of taxes and duties also provided rapid relief on the cash side. The average liquidity outflow of the red-white-red airline could be reduced from EUR 1-2 million to most recently only EUR 0.5 to 1 million per day thanks to the implementation of far-reaching cost-cutting measures. Accordingly, the level of liquidity remains above the business plan in spite of the shrinkage in flight operations. The adjusted EBIT, which does not include valuation gains or losses from aircraft sales, equalled minus EUR 319 million in 2020. However, this includes recognizing the EUR 150 million in emergency aid as a special effect. Excluding this effect, EBIT in 2020 would have amounted to minus EUR 469 million. The (unadjusted) EBIT for the entire year 2020 amounted to an historic loss of minus EUR 379 million.

Revenue in the fourth quarter months of October to December 2020 slumped by 91 percent to EUR 46 million from EUR 496 million in 2019. In this period, total operating revenue fell by 59 percent to EUR 207 million compared to EUR 503 million in Q4 2019 but includes the EUR 150 million in emergency aid which was recognized in the month of December. Fourth-quarter 2020 operating expenditures fell by 63 percent to EUR 185 million from EUR 503 million in the prior-year quarter. As a result of the emergency aid, the adjusted EBIT for the period October-December amounted to EUR 22 million, above the comparable figure of EUR 1 million in the fourth quarter of 2019. Excluding the emergency aid, the adjusted EBIT in Q4 2020 would have been -€128 million.

The total staff of Austrian Airlines amounted to 6,443 employees on the balance sheet date of December 31, 2020 (December 31, 2019: 6,989 employees). This corresponds to a decline of eight percent or about 550 employees, which was achieved through natural attrition, not filling vacant positions and the expiry of limited term employment contracts.

Structural measures implemented and further steps under review

The focus of the red-white-red airline will continue to be on safeguarding liquidity in the short term through stringent cost reduction efforts and ensuring the ability to pay back the state guaranteed loans in the long term. In this regard, the airline is currently reviewing to see which additional measures are required for this purpose and whether any of the approximately 60 aircraft which will still be in operation after the crisis should be taken out of service in the long run. Several structural adjustments have also been carried out over the past few months. For example, the airline has pressed ahead with the announced shutdown of the Austria Technik bases and passenger handling in several Austrian federal provinces. With respect to passenger handling, the stations in Salzburg and Klagenfurt were closed. Aircraft maintenance and repair operations were terminated at the technical stations in Graz, Linz, Salzburg and Klagenfurt in December 2020 or January 2021 and the bases were disbanded. The affected 42 technicians were given job offers to transfer to Vienna.

In addition, Austrian Airlines is moving ahead with its fleet redimensioning drive and the majority of Dash aircraft could be retired.
Recently, the airline also succeeded in selling the three oldest Boeing 767-300 long-haul jets. The sale of seven A319 aircraft is still in planning. A large portion of the sales proceeds will go directly to pay back the state guaranteed loans.

A glance at passenger development and capacity utilization

The overall situation of the aviation sector can be measured by the particularly drastic decline in passenger traffic. In 2020, the number of passengers flying with Austrian Airlines was down by 79 percent. In absolute figures, 3.1 million passengers were transported by the airline in all of 2020, down from 14.6 million in 2019. The flight offering in available seat kilometers (ASK) fell by 75 percent to 7.1 million compared to 28.5 million in the prior year. Capacity utilization in 2020 equalled 61.9 percent, comprising a decline of 18.9 percentage points from 80.8 percent in 2019. At present, the average capacity utilization has been about 55 percent since the beginning of 2021.

“In 2021 we must succeed in welcoming a significantly higher number of passengers on board our flights once again and thus slowly and patiently tread the path back towards a renewed freedom to travel. It is a fact that the desire to travel already exists now”, states CEO von Hoensbroech. In this connection, the airline continues to advocate unified entry regulations, at least within the European Union.

Planning for the summer season of 2021 under difficult conditions

Austrian Airlines has continuously emphasized the fact that the summer of 2021 will be decisive in determining the continuing existence of the red-white-red airline. “We are already witnessing initial positive trends in bookings for this year’s holiday season”, explains CCO Michael Trestl. “This makes me cautiously optimistic. Nevertheless, we will have to prepare countermeasures as well”, he adds. Flight operations in this year’s peak season should equal between 50 and 70 percent of the pre-crisis level. “We assume that certain catch-up effects could already be seen in the summer of 2021 with respect to our holiday flight program. This is precisely why the flight offering was correspondingly expanded”. Due to the dynamic developments, the flight schedule is being continuously reviewed and will be adjusted if required.

Freedom of travel with a health pass

“The decision to introduce a digital health pass, such as the ‘Green Pass’ advocated by Austrian Federal Chancellor Kurz, should be made sooner rather than later”, says Austrian Airlines CEO von Hoensbroech. In cooperation with Vienna Airport, the airline already demonstrated last year how easy a testing concept for travelers can be implemented. Austria’s national airline assumes that a two-fold strategy consisting of vaccinations and testing will exist in any case for a while due to the slow vaccination rate, and that many countries will specify negative test results or a vaccination certificate as the basis for entry. “A European-wide health pass will be the door opener for the 2021 summer season. This has to be a digital pass and internationally recognized. Of course, a unified worldwide solution would be even better”, the Austrian Airlines CEO concludes.