Austrian Airlines AG, often shortened to Austrian, is the flag carrier of Austria and a subsidiary of the Lufthansa Group. The airline is headquartered on the grounds of Vienna International Airport in Schwechat where it also maintains its airline hub. As of July 2016, the airline flew to six domestic and more than 120 international year-round and seasonal destinations in 55 countries and is a member of the Star Alliance.
The airline was formed in 1957 by the merger of Air Austria and Austrian Airways, but traces its history back to 1923 at the founding of Austrian Airways. Throughout much of the company's existence, it was a nationalisation entity. On 31 March 1958, the airline performed its scheduled service, flying a leased Vickers Viscount from Vienna to Zurich and London; it subsequently purchased its own Viscount fleet. On 18 February 1963, Austrian ordered its first jet propulsion airliner, the Sud Aviation Caravelle. It subsequently introduced various models and derivatives of the Douglas DC-9 jetliner; by the end of 1971, Austrian was an all-jet operator. During the 1980s, it introduced the DC-9-80, otherwise known as the McDonnell Douglas MD-80, to its fleet. Various airliners produced by Airbus, Boeing, Fokker and other manufacturers were introduced across the 1980s and 1990s.
Throughout the 1990s, the airline sought out new strategic alliances, as well to expand its presence in the long-haul market, launching new services to China and South Africa. In 2000, Austrian became a member of Star Alliance; a few years prior, it had also joined the Qualiflyer Group. During the 2000s, the airline expanded through the acquisitions of Rheintalflug and Lauda Air and adopted the shortened Austrian name in 2003. Throughout the 2000s, Austrian sustained several years of losses; during 2008, the airline's then-owner, the Austrian government, was advised to privatisation Austrian via its sale to a foreign company. During 2009, the Lufthansa Group purchased Austrian after receiving approval from the European Commission following an investigation into the tendering process.
Following its privatisation, both fleet expansion and cost-saving initiatives were enacted as the business was restructured; visible changes included route alterations, a new corporate design, and a revised aircraft livery. Following labour disputes over several of the cost cutting measures, all Austrian Airlines' flights were transferred on 1 July 2012 to its subsidiary, Tyrolean Airways, which operated under the Austrian name. On 1 April 2015, after a new labour agreement had been reached, all flights transferred back to Austrian, and Tyrolean Airways was merged into its parent. During the late 2010s, restructuring of both its fleet and route network continued. On 17 March 2020, the airline temporarily suspended operations as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The company's initial fleet consisted of Junkers F 13s. On 14 May 1923, the first flight performed by the fledging airline was conducted between Vienna and Munich, piloted by Hans Baur. The landing took place in Vienna Jedlesee; there occurred a conversion to float and the connecting flight to Budapest. The company was operated by Junkers Trans European Union. Its destinations included Munich, Budapest, Nuremberg, Graz, Klagenfurt, and St. Wolfgang. Some targets in Austria were served with seaplanes. The union was dissolved in September 1926.
From 1927, the company procured new aircraft with support from the government. During the same year, it formed an operating partnership agreement with Deutsche Luft Hansa. Line connections were planned and operated jointly by the two companies, while a route network to Berlin, Budapest, and Milan Vienna was created. In 1932, Luft Hansa Junkers held a 49% interest in the company. After recovering from the global economic fallout from the Great Depression, the firm's fleet was expanded via the addition of several Junkers Ju 52/3 m. The rapid growth of the firm throughout the 1930s led to it becoming the fourth-largest airline in Europe at one point.
In 1938, the company began planning routes to Rome, Paris, and London, using a fleet of Junkers Ju 90 aircraft. Following the Anschluss in March 1938, these plans were promptly abandoned. From 1 January 1939, the airline was fully under the control of Lufthansa. During June 1939, the company was deleted from the commercial register.
After the Second World War, Austria was once again separated from Germany. While it regained its independence as a result of the Austrian State Treaty of 1955, the newly reconstituted nation was initially lacking a national airline. During 1955, two separate companies, Air Austria and Austrian Airways, were quickly established to start filling this vacant niche. On 4 April 1957, Austrian Airlines was formed as Österreichische Luftverkehrs AG through the merger of Air Austria and Austrian Airways. On 30 September 1957, the new entity commenced operations, performing its maiden flight on 31 March 1958 when a leased Vickers Viscount took off from Vienna for a scheduled service to Zurich and London.
During early 1960, six new-build Viscount 837s were delivered to Austrian Airlines; unlike earlier aircraft, which had been leased, these were owned by the company and quickly displaced the former. Operations expanded quickly, opting to launch domestic services for the first time on 1 May 1963. Within ten years of operations, Austrian Airlines' financial situation had improved considerably; its share capital had reportedly increased from an initial ATS 60 million to reach ATS 290 million in 1957.
The Caravelle formed a core part of Austrian Airlines' fleet up until 1973. Deliveries of the American-built jetliner, the Douglas DC-9, commenced during 1971. Starting in 1971, Austrian opted to standardise its fleet. By the end of that year, all Viscounts had been permanently withdrawn, leaving the firm with an all-jet fleet. Its new fleet centered around a core of nine DC-9-32s, these would be operated by Austrian Airlines for both short- and medium-haul flights for many years. During 1975, the first of five DC-9-51s, an improved model, was introduced to service.
On 13 October 1977, Austrian became the first customer for the DC-9-80, otherwise known as the McDonnell Douglas MD-80, having placed an initial order for eight. On 26 October 1980, the first MD-81, which was capable of longer-range flights than earlier models, made its first commercial flight with the airline, flying from Vienna to Zurich. During 1984, Austrian became the first customer for the MD-87 and played an influential role in its development. The first MD-87 entered service at the end of 1987, as did the MD-83 from 1990, while six of the airline's MD-81s were upgraded to MD-82 standards.
During 1988, Austrian Airlines underwent an initial public offering upon the Vienna Stock Exchange, although the majority of shares in the company remained held by the Austrian government at this time.
On 26 March 2000, Austrian became a member of Star Alliance. During January 2001, it acquired a majority of the shares in Lauda Air; one month later, the airline also bought all of the shares in Rheintalflug. Austrian Airlines' operating name was shortened to Austrian in September 2003, it also renamed its three constituent carriers during this rebranding. On 1 October 2004, the flight operations departments of Austrian and Lauda Air were merged into a single unit, leaving Lauda Air as a brand name only for charter flights. It had 6,394 employees. Another subsidiary of Austrian Airlines, Tyrolean Airways, specialised in regional flights, having been merged with Rheintalflug during 2002. During March 2004, it launched its Focus East plan, expanding the airline's destinations across Central and Eastern Europe to 38; as a consequence, the Austrian Airlines Group became a market leader within this region.
In October 2006, Austrian was forced to adopt a stringent cost-saving policy, and in 2007, it eliminated over 500 jobs. Many long-haul destinations were cancelled, such as Sydney via Kuala Lumpur, Melbourne via Singapore, Kathmandu or Shanghai. Three remaining Fokker 70s were sent to Tyrolean Airways. It was also decided to abandon the long-haul Airbus planes, consisting of four Airbus A340s and four Airbus A330s, to standardise the fleet in favour of Boeing 777s and Boeing 767s. Austrian Airlines removed complimentary in-flight meals and alcoholic drinks on short-haul services, introducing what was called a "Self Select Bistro Service", except on flights from London and any flights above 100 minutes in duration. Austrian Airlines inflight meals Airreview, 18 Jan 2012 Head office moved from Oberlaa to Vienna Airport in 2007, whereas headquarters remained in Vienna.
On 13 November 2008, state holding ÖIAG announced that Lufthansa was selected. The German company was to enter Austrian's capital with a 41.6% share, for which it would pay €366,268.75. AUA CEO Alfred Ötsch and OIAG chairman Peter Michaelis were heavily criticised for revealing to Lufthansa that it had to take over the €500 million debt only when the deal had been made binding. Michaelis refused a new tendering procedure, but was made a scapegoat with his shareholder rights removed, and Ötsch resigned on 29 January 2013.
On 1 July 2009, the European Commission initiated investigation on the acquisition for breach of free-trade rules, suspecting that the tendering process was a fake one, everything being already decided in favour of Lufthansa. Finally, following approval from the European Commission, Lufthansa purchased Austrian Airlines during September 2009. Shares in Austrian Airlines AG were suspended on the Vienna Stock Exchange on 4 February 2010. After a time of uncertainty following the demission of appointed CEO Thierry Antinori,Financial Times Deutschland: Ex-Lufthansa-Manager läuft zu Emirates über. the arrival of Jaan Albrecht as the new CEO in 2011 signalled the beginning of a new era for the airline, with improving passenger numbers and a more strategic position within the Lufthansa framework. The completion of extension works at the Vienna International Airport will give the airline more room for expansion. As a result, in January 2012, a new strategy was implemented, with the addition of 11 new aircraft in the next three years, leading to a renewal of the fleet on the long term, with Airbus planes serving medium-haul routes and Boeings serving long-haul routes.
During December 2011, a new cost-saving plan was revealed, as the company was still losing money despite eliminating 2,500 jobs. Lufthansa refused to provide financial support. In March 2012, Austrian called once more for recapitalisation. Lufthansa approved a capital increase of €140 million, providing effective measure to be taken to address the structural deficiencies.
During April 2013, Austrian Airlines retired its final Boeing 737, a 737-800 variant in Lauda Air markings, as part of its fleet-consolidation exercise. The airline's 11 Boeing 737s were replaced by seven Airbus A320s, it was reportedly expected to achieve annual saving of €17 million through the move to a single type. In March 2014, it was announced that Austrian had returned to profitability for the first time in six years. This same year, management intensified efforts to end a long-running labour dispute.
Ahead of this merger, Austrian announced an overhauled concept, initially called "my Austrian", on 26 March 2015; it included a new corporate design, a revised aircraft livery, and a number of new routes. However, in January 2016, Austrian Airlines announced it would revise its new branding introduced in spring 2015 by dropping the word "my" in front of Austrian; this new feature had been severely criticised.
In June 2015, Austrian Airlines announced the purchase of 17 Embraer 195s from within the Lufthansa Group. These Embraer aircraft, which had been owned by Lufthansa CityLine, replaced the ageing Fokker 70s and 100s. By August 2016, eight of 17 Embraer aircraft had been delivered while 9 of 23 Fokker left the fleet. By late July 2017, all of the remaining Fokker 70s had been phased out; the Fokker 100s followed by the end of the year. That same year, Austrian began offering Internet on board its short-haul and medium-haul flights for the first time.
Due to increasing competition from at its Vienna base and the need to streamline operations to avoid financial losses, in 2019, the airline announced a restructuring to its fleet and network. All Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft are being replaced with Airbus A320s by March 2021, with all crew bases outside of Vienna shut down and routes not going through Vienna airport moved to either Lufthansa or Eurowings. airliners.de - "Austrian rebuilds fleet and schedule" (German) 18 January 2019 In January 2020, Austrian announced the further retirement of three of its six Boeing 767-300ER long-haul aircraft scheduled, the last of which will leave the fleet by fall 2021. It has yet to be determined if and when they will be replaced by other aircraft, aerotelegraph.com 5 January 2021 with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner a possible replacement.
Austrian suspended all regularly scheduled flights between 18 March and 15 June 2020 as global air traffic collapsed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With regular operations suspended, the airline carried out several repatriation flights to carry home Austrians stranded abroad, as well as freight flights to carry medical supplies. Such flights were launched to Abuja, Bali, Lima, Mexico City, and Sydney. In summer 2020, the airline received €600 million in financial aid from Lufthansa and the Austrian government to help it weather the pandemic; in return, Austrian committed to, among others, reducing emissions in Austria by 50% by 2030. Overall, the airline ended 2020 flying 3.1 million passengers, a 79% drop from the prior year.
In September 2021, it has been announced that Austrian Airlines will terminate all of its remaining scheduled services originating from Austrian airports outside of Vienna. These will be either cancelled or transferred to sister company Eurowings. aviation.direct (German) 28 September 2021
|Turnover (euro)||2,551||2,531||2,083||2,150||2,163||2,259||2,198||2,164||2,243||2,285||2,466||2,149||2,108 !460|
|Profit before interest, tax, depreciation, etc. (EBITDA) (€m)||170||107||157||201||109||83||19 !|
|Profit before interest and tax (EBIT) (€m)||25.6||65||25||10||54||65||101||91||15 !|
|Net profit (€m)||3.3||!|
|Number of employees (at year end)||8,031||7,914||7,066||5,934||6,777||6,236||6,208||6,067||5,984||6,450||6,914||7,083||6,989 !6,443|
|Number of passengers (m)||10.8||10.7||9.9||10.9||11.3||11.5||11.3||11.2||10.8||11.4||12.9||13.9||14.7 !3.1|
|Passenger load factor (%)||75.1||74.4||74.0||76.8||73.7||77.5||78.6||78.9||78.0||76.1||76.8||79.3||80.8 !61.9|
|Number of aircraft (at year end)||98||99||78||77||74||75||77||81||83||83||82 !79|
The Austrian Airlines' arrow ("Austrian Chevron") has seen several design modifications over the years. When created in 1960 it was redolent of the shape of a flying bird; the design became more formal in 1972. As part of a rebranding exercise in 1995, the "Chevron" was placed on the red-white-red tail fin. In the new corporate design, in use since 2003, the old "Chevron" shape was used again, this time in a more modern style and with a drop shadow placed underneath.
Several special colour schemes have been used throughout the decades. Since joining Star Alliance, a few aeroplanes have flown with Star Alliance markings. For the Mozart year in 2006, an Airbus A320 was decorated in a Mozart design, and an Airbus A340-300 was coated with an hommage to the Vienna Philharmonic orchestra. A Boeing 737-600 was given a glacier look for a Tyrol advertisement. Three designs were put on aeroplanes to mark Euro 2008. An Airbus A320 was given a retro livery to mark the company's 50th anniversary. Austrian's slogan is "the charming way to fly".
Both Australia routes - Melbourne via Singapore and Sydney via Kuala Lumpur - were terminated in March 2007, ending operations on the Kangaroo Route. Austrian was the last European-based airline offering direct flights from Melbourne to Europe. It started with Lauda aircraft, and later used Austrian Airlines aircraft. Austrian has temporarily restarted the Vienna to Sydney route in March 2020, as part of their repatriation flights to retrieve people stranded in other countries during the COVID-19 pandemic. The flight from Vienna to Sydney will be non-stop and the return flight will make a stopover in Penang, Malaysia to refuel and onload additional cargo. Using a Boeing 777, the non-stop flight will cover a distance of over 16,000 kilometers or 9,940 miles and it will last almost 18 hours, making it the longest flight in the history of Austrian Airlines.
Austrian was one of the few airlines to fly to post-war Iraq when it began flights to Erbil in December 2006. New flights to Mumbai began in November 2010 and Austrian resumed flights to Baghdad on 8 June 2011. On 13 January 2013, Austrian Airlines suspended flights to Tehran due to a lack of demand. Austrian Airlines resumed flights to Chicago on 17 May 2013, and launched Newark in 2014. Austrian Airlines started service to Mauritius in the beginning of the 2015 winter schedule. The expansion of the intercontinental network seems to indicate improving results for Austrian, with Lufthansa placing its confidence in the airline. Austrian Airlines began service to Mauritius and Miami in October 2015. Austrian Airlines commenced service to Los Angeles on 10 April 2017, covering a distance of over 9,877 kilometers or 6,137 miles; the flight takes about 12 hours and 30 minutes, using Boeing 777-200ER aircraft. Austrian Airlines announced it would commence service (four times a week) to Shiraz which began on 2 July 2017, with a stopover in Isfahan using Airbus A320 aircraft.
|+ Austrian Airlines fleet|
|Airbus A320-200||29||—||var.||—||var.||174||Older aircraft to be retired and replaced by Airbus A320neo.|
|Airbus A320neo||2||2||var.||—||var.||180||Delivery in progress. Replacing older Airbus A320-200.|
|+ Austrian Airlines historical fleet|
|Airbus A319-100||2004||2022||Relocated to Lufthansa CityLine|
|Airbus A330-200||1998||2007||Relocated to TAP Air Portugal|
|Airbus A340-200||1995||2007||Relocated to French Air Force|
|Airbus A340-300||1997||2007||Relocated to Swiss International Air Lines|
|Boeing 737-600||2008||2012||Former Lauda Air fleet|
|Boeing 737-700||2008||2012||Former Lauda Air fleet|
|Boeing 737-800||2010||2013||Former Lauda Air fleet|
|Bombardier CRJ100||1994||2010||. Austrianwings.info. Retrieved on 2014-01-14. Austrian führt allerletzten CRJ-Passagierflug durch >Austrian Wings. Austrianwings.info. Retrieved on 2014-01-14.|
|De Havilland Canada Dash 8-400||2012||2021||Former Tyrolean Airways fleet..|
|Fokker 70||1995||2017||Former Tyrolean Airways fleet|
|Fokker 100||2004||2017||Former Tyrolean Airways fleet|
|McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32||1971||1990|
|McDonnell Douglas DC-9-51||1975||1985|
|McDonnell Douglas MD-81||1980||1999|
|McDonnell Douglas MD-82||1983||2005|
|McDonnell Douglas MD-83||1993||2005|
|McDonnell Douglas MD-87||1987||2005|
Do & Co has handled catering for Austrian Airlines since 2007. On long-haul flights, Business Class meals are prepared by a chef on board.
As of 2011 all Austrian planes of the Airbus A320 family are equipped with new seats and a new cabin design. By September 2013, Austrian's entire long-haul-fleet (Boeing 767 and Boeing 777) also got new seats and a new cabin design. It contains full-flat-beds with a pneumatics-system and aisle access from nearly every seat in Business Class, and new seats with video-on-demand for every passenger in Economy Class.
myAustrian Holidays flights cover a dedicated range of flight numbers: