Tag Archives: Austrian Airlines

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.

Austrian Airlines to fly again to Montreal and New York JFK, sells 3 Boeing 767-300s

Austrian Airlines has made this announcement:

Destinations

• As of May, Austrian Airlines expands its long-haul service
• Montreal and New York JFK back on offer
• “Our long-haul services are back on a slight climb”, says CCO Michael Trestl

Austrian Airlines is expanding its long-haul services in the upcoming summer flight schedule. From May, Austria’s home carrier will once again be flying three times a week to Montreal and New York JFK. As Newark was already in service up to now, the total number of flights to New York will increase to eight connections per week as of May.

“With five destinations in North America and three in Asia, including Tokyo and Bangkok, our long-haul services are back on a slight climb this summer. Unfortunately, however, we are still a long way from reaching cruising altitude. We hope that a rapid increase in the vaccination rate and a corresponding relaxation of travel restrictions will give us a further boost in the future”, says Austrian Airlines CCO Michael Trestl.

Austrian Airlines was already able to announce an increase in its summer flight schedule last week. From the end of March, various destinations will be resumed, including Barcelona, Dubrovnik and Florence. Hanover will be served by Austrian Airlines again for the first time since 2009. In addition, numerous vacation destinations are back on offer, for example in Greece, Italy and Spain. In the intercontinental route network, Amman, Bangkok, Chicago and Tokyo are back in the flight schedule.
In other news, Austrian Airlines has found a buyer for the three long-haul aircraft that were up for sale. The Boeing 767-300ER aircraft will go to the US company MonoCoque Diversified Interests. The purchase agreement has already been signed. The parties have agreed not to disclose the purchase price. The first aircraft, registered OE-LAT, will leave Vienna at the beginning of March for Pinal Airpark, Arizona. The aircraft is currently undergoing all the necessary preparations for the handover. The next transfer flight is scheduled for May with the Boeing 767 registered OE-LAX.

At an average of 28.5 years, the three B767s sold are among the oldest aircraft in the Austrian Airlines fleet. The remaining three B767s are between 20 and 22 years of age. After the completed handover, Austrian Airlines will continue to have nine long-haul jets at its disposal, which will connect Austria with destinations around the globe – from the USA to the Far East. In detail, these are six Boeing 777s with over 300 seats and three Boeing 767s with over 200 seats.

Until the beginning of 2022, 28 aircraft will leave the fleet of Austria’s home carrier: In addition to the aforementioned three Boeing 767-300ERs, 18 Dash turboprops (below) and seven Airbus A319 jets (above) will be handed over. Ten turboprops have already left Vienna, with the remaining eight to follow soon. This means that the fleet will consist of around 60 aircraft by the beginning of 2022. As mainly smaller aircraft will be retired, this corresponds to a capacity reduction of around 20 percent.
Finally, Austrian Airlines operated its 100th cargo flight with this announcement:

• Milestone flight celebrated with special livery
• More than 2,000 tons of relief supplies transported from Asia to Austria and Germany
• Partnership to be expanded through additional cargo flights

The need for relief supplies in the form of protective gloves, masks and suits as well as rapid antigen tests has continued uninterruptedly since the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis. For this reason, Austrian Airlines has established an airlift to Asia since March 2020 on behalf of the air cargo experts time:matters, a subsidiary of Lufthansa Cargo, in order to directly transport urgently needed protective materials to Vienna, Frankfurt or Linz. In doing so, the Austrian Airlines team worked particularly closely with the local branch office of time:matters in Vienna at all times. More than 2,000 tons of relief supplies could be brought to Europe on some 100 flights from Xiamen, Shanghai and Penang. Austrian Airlines’ Boeing B767 and 777 aircraft with built in seats were deployed on these flights as well as the B777 “Prachter”. This German word represents a mixture of the words normally used for passenger aircraft and cargo planes. The passenger seats on these jets are temporarily removed in order to increase cargo volumes.

Boeing 777-200 (OE-LPA) takes off with special livery to commemorate the 100th flight
On the occasion of the 100th cargo flight jointly operated by Austrian Airlines and time:matters, the converted Boeing 777 cargo aircraft of the Austrian flag carrier was given a special livery over the last few days by the experts at Austrian Technik. The tail section of the aircraft now displays the time:matters logo as well as lettering to point out the anniversary flight taking off from Vienna and heading to Penang. The aircraft will return to Vienna again on February 28, 2021 carrying urgently needed relief supplies.
Austrian Airlines aircraft photo gallery:
Austrian Airlines aircraft slide show:

Austrian Airlines slowly increases flight schedule for the summer, will add Hanover

Austrian Airlines has made this announcement:

• Resumption of more than 20 destinations for the summer flight schedule
• Up to 150 flights per week to vacation destinations in midsummer
• Takeover of the Vienna-Hanover connection in the 2021 summer flight schedule
• CCO Trestl: “Clear focus on tourist destinations in summer”

After a short peak in the flight schedule during Christmas and up to 15 percent flight supply in January and February, Austrian Airlines plans to continuously increase the flight schedule until summer. More than 20 destinations will be resumed for the summer flight program, including: Barcelona, Dubrovnik, Florence, Gothenburg, Kosice, Krakow, Lviv, Odessa or Oslo – in the intercontinental route network, Amman, Bangkok, Chicago and Tokyo are back in the flight schedule. In midsummer, the Austrian home carrier anticipates increased demand for vacation travel and is therefore focusing on tourist destinations.

Up to 150 flights per week to vacation destinations in summer
Flying into ZRH:
The main focus will continue to be on Greece and Cyprus, but Italy, Spain, and Turkey are also the hopefuls for the summer of 2021. For example, there will be up to 10 flights a week to Heraklion (Crete) or 16 to Larnaca (Cyprus) – and popular vacation destinations such as Palma de Mallorca, Ibiza, Rhodes, Mykonos, Kos, Catania and the Canary Islands are also on the schedule with increased frequency.

“We are expecting increased demand in the tourism sector in summer and are therefore increasing our offer to vacation destinations by up to 20 percent from July”, explains Austrian Airlines CCO Michael Trestl. “The booking phase for the 2021 vacation season is currently underway. With our expanded flight schedule, we want to create an attractive vacation offer for all Austrians. Of course, further development is highly dependent on the progress of the pandemic and the associated travel policies.”

New route in the summer flight schedule: Hanover
For the first time since 2009, Austrian Airlines will be flying to Hanover again in the 2021
summer flight schedule. Initially, the route, which was previously served by Eurowings, will be in the schedule twice a week, and the frequency will be continuously increased until summer. Thus, from July, two connections will be offered daily. With the launch of the route, Austrian is expanding its route network in Germany. Thanks to the connection to the hub in Vienna, travelers from the Hanover catchment area will benefit from numerous transfer options to Central and Southeastern Europe, as well as the Middle East. The new destination can be booked from now on. The first flight will take place on March 25.
Austrian Airlines aircraft photo gallery:
Austrian Airlines aircraft slide show:

Lufthansa, Swiss and Austrian Airlines will be offering a selection of food and beverages in Economy Class on short- and medium-haul flights starting in spring 2021

Lufthansa Group has made this announcement:

In the near future, Lufthansa, Swiss and Austrian Airlines will be offering g their customers a new range of services in Economy Class. Starting in spring 2021, passengers on short and medium-haul routes will be able to purchase a broad selection of high-quality foods and beverages on board to suit their needs.

High quality standards are implemented in the new range from selection to preparation and presentation. With the new concept, the airlines are also investing more heavily in sustainability by selecting environmentally friendly products and packaging and by reducing food waste through more customized production.

“Our current snack offer in Economy Class does not always meet the expectations of our guests,” explains Christina Foerster, Member of the Executive Board Lufthansa Group responsible for Customer, IT & Corporate Responsibility. “The new offer was developed on the basis of feedback from our customers. With the high-quality offer available for purchase, our passengers will be able to decide what they want to eat and drink on their journey.”

The range of food and beverages will be available from the individual airlines in various forms, some of which will have regional references. The focus will be on fresh products and a selection of snacks. The standard, complimentary snack will no longer be served in the future.

The new offer will be introduced in phases as of spring 2021: Austrian Airlines will begin, followed by Swiss and Lufthansa; the new products will be revealed by individual airlines over the coming months.

Austrian Airlines launches mandatory COVID-19 tests

Austrian Airlines made this announcement:

On November 12, 2020, Austrian Airlines is starting a further testing phase on flights OS171 (Vienna-Hamburg) and OS172 (Hamburg-Vienna) in order to integrate COVID-19 rapid antigen tests in the travel chain.

The first phase of the project is currently underway and will last until November 8, 2020. In this case, passengers are offered the possibility to undergo the tests on a voluntary basis. In the next step, tests will be obligatory for passengers and the crew on selected flights. This ensures that all persons on board have tested negative for COVID-19. The implementation of the free COVID-19 rapid antigen tests will take place in close cooperation with the Lufthansa Group as well as the respective airports in Vienna and Hamburg. After taking the test, passengers will receive their results within 10-15 minutes, either via SMS or, upon request, also after consulting medically trained staff. The boarding card is only activated if the test result is negative, enabling the passenger to gain entry to the security area and the gate. If the test result is positive, the affected passenger will be taken care of by the airport medical service in order to fully clarify the individual’s medical condition. Further steps will be specified with the responsible health authorities. In this case, the passenger will be able to rebook or cancel his or her Austrian Airlines flight at no cost.


“About 25 percent of the passengers volunteered to have themselves tested in the first testing phase”, explained Austrian Airlines COO Jens Ritter. “Our objective is to make quarantine regulations obsolete in the future on the basis of a sophisticated testing strategy. Mandatory tests are a further step on this path.“ In the medium term, the hope exists that the use of rapid tests will lead to a loosening of the numerous travel restrictions and make travelling easier and possible to plan once again.

“Economy and tourism urgently need more freedom to travel. We therefore need solutions that offer security and can be integrated into the travel process. Rapid antigen testing is a way out of the Covid-19 crisis. The test operation at Vienna Airport works very well and we are pleased that Austrian is now expanding this offer to the Hamburg connection”, stated Julian Jäger, Member of the Management Board of the airport operating company Flughafen Wien AG.

The COVID-19 rapid antigen test is performed at the testing center at Vienna Airport or Hamburg by expert medical personnel. Vienna International Airport has set up a test center for this purpose in the check-in area of Terminal 3, near counter 370. The tests are carried out by medical staff of the airport. Passengers can take the test before departure without having made an appointment in advance. When departing from Hamburg, it is possible to register online in advance and thus reduce waiting times. Passengers are requested to come to the respective testing center two hours before departure. The test results are checked by the gate personnel during the boarding process. No data is exchanged, noted down or passed on. These flights can only be boarded with negative COVID-19 test results. Alternatively, Austrian Airlines also accept negative PCR test results which are not older than 48 hours at departure. In this case as well, passengers are also requested to report to the testing center.

The pilot phase of the mandatory COVID-19 tests is currently scheduled to last until the end of November 2020. The underlying aim of the pilot project is to optimally integrate the testing procedure in the passengers’ travel process and design it in such a manner as to be as pleasant as possible. The testing program represents a Group-wide pilot project of the Lufthansa Group. It should enable intercontinental mobility and the freedom to travel, also during the coronavirus pandemic, and while maintaining health protection. If the trial runs become well established, the airline may offer the tests on a larger scale and extend them to other routes as well.

Flights with rapid antigen tests are marked accordingly

All flights operated as so-called “COVID-19 Tested Flights” are designated accordingly on the Austrian Airlines website so that they can already be identified as such during the booking process. Moreover, passengers are provided with information before departure via a pre-flight e-mail and check-in invitation. At the present time, the rapid COVID-19 antigen tests do not replace the PCR tests mandated by health authorities. This means that all passengers must continue to adhere to local entry regulations. The obligation to wear masks on board Austrian Airlines flights as well as at airports remains in force, with the exception of children under the age of six and passengers who can present the appropriate medical declaration.

Deteriorating trend due to Coronavirus puts pressure on third quarter results of Austrian Airlines

Austrian Airlines issued this statement:

• 3rd quarter of 2020: Adjusted EBIT of minus EUR 106 million
• CFO Andreas Otto: “The coronavirus really spoiled the summer business for us”
• Rising infection rates require cutback in flight operations

As a consequence of the second wave of the coronavirus crisis and the related high number of adjustments to flight operations, Austrian Airlines reported adjusted earnings before interest and taxes (adjusted EBIT) of minus EUR 106 million in the third quarter of 2020 compared to the positive results of EUR 70 million in the prior-year quarter. Accordingly, the adjusted EBIT for the first nine months of 2020 equaled minus EUR 341 million. The number of passengers transported by Austrian Airlines fell by 75 percent to about 2.8 million due to the many travel restrictions which have been imposed.

“As an airline, we normally make money in the summer months. However, this year the coronavirus spoiled things for us. The patchwork set of regulations within Europe and the new lockdown decrees in many countries are further aggravating the situation”, explains Austrian Airlines CFO Andreas Otto.

Results in detail
In the middle of August, Austrian Airlines operated at its highest capacity in the year 2020, comprising about 30 percent of flight operations compared to the prior-year level. The situation has deteriorated since this time as a result of the large number of travel restrictions. Revenue in the period July to September 2020 fell by 85 percent year-on-year to EUR 93 million. In the same period, the adjusted total operating revenue also declined by 85 percent from the third quarter of 2019 to EUR 102 million (Q3 2019: EUR 667 million). Operating expenditures amounted to EUR 208 million, corresponding to a drop of 65 percent (Q3 2019: EUR 597 million). The adjusted third-quarter EBIT amounted to minus EUR 106 million.

Revenue in the first nine months of 2020 was down by 85 percent to EUR 414 million (Q1-3 2019: EUR 1,612 million). The adjusted total operating revenue decreased by 72 percent to EUR 465 million (Q1-3 2019: EUR 1,678 million). Operating expenditures in the first three quarters of 2020 were down 51 percent to EUR 806 million (Q1-3 2019: EUR 1,661 million). Corresponding countermeasures have been taken, as reflected in the expansion of short time working at Austrian Airlines as well as comprehensive cost reduction measures. The adjusted EBIT, which does not include valuation losses or gains from aircraft sales, equaled minus EUR 341 million in the first nine months of the year (Q1-3 2019: EUR 17 million). EBIT in this period amounted to minus EUR 404 million. Nevertheless, cumulative EBIT and liquidity are still above business plan.

Current development of bookings and capacity utilization
The intensification of measures to combat the coronavirus also makes it more difficult for Austrian Airlines to plan daily flight operations. The so-called “lockdown light” imposed by the Austrian government for the time being for the period November 3 – November 30, 2020 leads the airline to expect a further drop in demand. At present the red-white-red flag carrier has reduced flight operations to about 20 percent of its comparable offering in the previous year, far less than originally planned for the winter months. Further flight plan adjustments are under preparation. The accumulated capacity utilization (passenger load factor) in the first nine months was about 65 percent, down from the current level of under 50 percent. Booking behavior continues to be on very short notice and restrained.

“The 2020/21 winter season will be cold and tough for us, like for so many other airlines”, states CFO Andreas Otto. “What still gives us security at present is the good liquidity situation, but we must nevertheless use all measures and levers to further reduce our costs and expenditures and make our company winter-proof. The coming months will remain challenging. But we will survive the hard winter. Next summer will be decisive.”

Structural measures should provide further relief
Long before the crisis, Austrian Airlines presented the PE20 process efficiency programme. This programme also contains a large number of structural measures designed to improve the cost position of the domestic airline in the long term. The current crisis situation has made them even more urgent. On the already familiar centralization of crew bases for flight attendants & pilots is still being worked on. The bases in Altenrhein (Bregenz), Klagenfurt and Salzburg were closed on March 31 and Linz, Graz and Innsbruck on October 31. All aircraft of the Austrian airline are to be stationed in Vienna in future. This will also result in a centralization of aircraft maintenance. Talks are underway to reorganize the structure accordingly. This concerns the technical stations in Graz, Salzburg, Innsbruck and Linz.

The contracts for ground handling in Salzburg and Klagenfurt were terminated by the respective airports. In Klagenfurt, discussions are currently underway regarding a transfer of operations, so that our employees can continue to work at the airport. Unfortunately, it was not possible to find a business transfer solution in Salzburg. The employees in Salzburg have received offers to transfer to Vienna. If it is not possible to transfer their place of residence to Vienna, Austrian Airlines would like to find amicable solutions with those affected.

Austrian Airlines and Vienna Airport launch trial for rapid COVID-19 antigen tests

Austrian Airlines has made this announcement:

• Passengers on flight OS 229 can take advantage of the free of charge and voluntary offering starting on October 23, 2020
• Results available after no more than 15 minutes – no replacement for PCR tests and official travel regulations at present
• Austrian COO Ritter: “The objective is to dismantle barriers created by the coronavirus and make travelling even safer.”
• Member of the Vienna Airport Executive Board, Jäger: “Comprehensive use of rapid antigen tests could allow passengers to travel freely”.

Austrian Airlines has commenced the first trials for using rapid Covid-19 antigen tests in close cooperation with Vienna Airport. In the initial phase, all passengers on flight OS 229 to Berlin will have the opportunity to take such a rapid test prior to departure in the period October 23 – November 8, 2020, initially. The tests are free of charge and are carried out on a voluntary basis. For this purpose, Vienna Airport has set up a testing center in the check-in area of Terminal 3. After taking the test, passengers will receive their results within 10-15 minutes, either via SMS or, upon request, after personal inquiry. The boarding card is only activated if the test results are negative, enabling the passenger to gain entry to the security area and gate. If the test results are positive, the affected passenger will be taken care by the airport medical service in order to fully clarify the individual’s medical condition. Further steps will be specified with the responsible health authorities. In this case, the passenger will be able to rebook or cancel his or her Austrian Airlines flight free of charge.

The large number of travel restrictions have made it difficult for airports and airlines to ensure stable flight operations in the past few months. For this reason, in cooperation with Vienna Airport, Austrian Airlines has defined the goal of showing how one can integrate rapid testing into the passenger’s travel chain. The Lufthansa Group is working with partners on processes enabling intercontinental mobility and the freedom to travel, also during the coronavirus pandemic, while maintaining health protection. The findings derived from test operations in Vienna will be integrated into the overall project being implemented by the Lufthansa Group. “We have to dismantle the barriers created by the coronavirus over the past few months, COO Ritter emphasizes. “For the future, our objective is to achieve corresponding loosening of travel restrictions. However, first we aim to show how a targeted testing program can work”, he explains. If the trial runs become well established, the tests could be offered on a larger scale. Julian Jäger, Member of the Management Board of the airport operating company Flughafen Wien AG, adds: “The entire tourism and travel industry urgently needs future-proof solutions to get out of the crisis. Rapid antigen tests provide a quick result and can be well integrated into the operational process of an air travel. Nationwide use at airports and by airlines within the framework of a Europe-wide uniform testing regime could enable the freedom of travel for passengers, which is important for economy and tourism”.

Aviation State Secretary Magnus Brunner welcomes the pilot project: “The pilot project allows us to venture a look into the near future and, above all, to demonstrate the feasibility of the necessary processes. This will enable antigen tests to be used as soon as possible, provided they are of the required quality in terms of sensitivity and specificity. In this way, we are taking a step towards ‘new normality’ in order to give our social life and economy a corresponding boost. “

Information on the testing program available before departure
Passengers will be informed about the testing possibility before departure via a preflight e-mail and check-in invitation. At present time, the rapid Covid-19 antigen test does not replace the PCR tests mandated by health authorities. This means that all passengers must continue to adhere to local entry regulations. The obligation to wear masks on board Austrian Airlines flights as well as at airports remains in force, with the exception of children under the age of six and passengers who can present the appropriate medical declaration as well as a negative PCR test (with the results not older than 48 hours).

Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines test in-flight shopping platform SKYdeals

Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines have made this announcement:

Due to the current coronavirus pandemic, offers on board had to be restricted. This also applies to onboard sales. To give customers the opportunity to shop above the clouds again, Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines are now testing a new in-flight shopping experience for their passengers – via Internet on board (FlyNet). Guests will have free access to the SKYdeals shopping platform via the FlyNet portal with their mobile device during their flight within Germany and Europe. The platform is the first online marketplace on board for so-called “shoppertainment”. At the start of the test phase, passengers will receive a free FlyNet Mail&Surf voucher after the sale is completed.

With just one click on the online marketplace, information such as destination and flight route is transmitted to SKYdeals. The SKYdeals Inflight Shopping platform offers a selection of products, each of which is related to the destination or the flight route. The following sales formats are part of the programme:

  • FLY OVER: exclusive discounts on local products such as Swiss chocolate and pocket knives on flights over Switzerland or fan articles of German football clubs over Germany
  • QUICK SALES / PRIVATE SALES: exclusive offers in fashion, beauty and accessories

After convenient online ordering and payment on board via the SKYdeals platform, the customer can have the order delivered by post to his desired address.