• Lufthansa authorises capital injection of up to 140 million euros
• Work Programme gets green light on all committees
• More than 200 million euros for new aircraft and new cabin
Austrian Airlines was last night given the green light from Frankfurt for the Work Programme it presented in January. Parent company Lufthansa will support Austrian Airlines with a conditions-based capital increase of up to 140 million euros. The funds will be used to prepare the harmonisation of the medium-haul fleet and the consequent restructuring. As a part of this, a transition of the flying staff of Austrian Airlines to the collective agreements of Tyrolean Airways might take place. Nothing will change for the customer as a result: Austrian Airlines will also continue to be called Austrian Airlines after the restructuring phase, operating a fleet of 80 aircraft to 130 destinations worldwide. It is planned to convert the cabin of the company’s entire long-haul fleet of 10 aircraft over the winter. In total, 200 million euros will be invested over the next two years.
Austrian CEO Jaan Albrecht said the following: “We now have the capital needed to implement our plan. Austrian Airlines will continue to be the largest domestic airline, but in a more modern and competitive setting. Its new costs structure will provide the basis for further growth in the Lufthansa Group.”
An overview of the Work Programme:
In the past 8 weeks, a total of around 180 million euros in cost reductions or revenue increases has been identified. These include new agreements with partners, an adjusted route network and harmonization of the fleet. Most recently, there has also been confirmation from our politicians that location-related costs in Vienna will be reduced. These include reduction of the tax on flight tickets and the stockpiling of oil, as well as a new fare model with Vienna Airport. A better approach flight route into Vienna is also to be worked out in a working group with AustroControl. Charges for the licensing of pilots are to be reviewed again this year. With the help of a transition to group subsidiary Tyrolean, additional funds can be raised.
• Route network and fleet harmonisation: A new route network plan with a strategic orientation to our home market of Austria and strong Eastern European markets has been developed. In future, Austrian will fly to Sofia, Bucharest and Belgrade more often. A larger aircraft is to be deployed on the route to Tel Aviv. The routes to Gothenburg, Sochi and Donetsk will be cancelled. Austrian Airlines will increase the flights to London and Barcelona as well as intra-Austrian flights to Klagenfurt and Linz.
Preparations have been made for the removal from the fleet of eleven medium-haul aircraft of the type Boeing 737 and acquisition of seven mid-range Airbus A320 family. This would mean Austrian Airlines will have harmonized mid-range fleet of 29 Airbus. Retraining of the pilots will begin in March.
Starting in autumn, it is planned to completely convert the cabins of the 10 aircraft that make up Austrian’s long-haul fleet, adding new seats and an inflight entertainment system.
• Location: An agreement has been reached with Vienna Airport to secure the companies’ common future by strengthening transfer traffic and long-haul development. In total, the Vienna hub and long-haul product at the location should continue being built up. Good preconditions have also been created for doing this with the new Skylink Terminal, which will open its doors in June 2012. In the field of handling, too, potential savings have been identified, and the framework conditions for a longer-term agreement defined.
• Costs and revenues: By extending contracts and creating more favourable conditions for office items, building maintenance and car fleet reduction, substantial amounts running into millions of euros will be saved in the field of administration. On the revenue side, meanwhile, a range of measures is planned, including expansion of corporate customer business by means of cooperations with the Lufthansa Group.
• Staffing: Despite highly intensive and fair negotiations, it proved impossible to reach an agreement over the “Modernisation of Collective Agreements” work package for the flying staff. The measures discussed would not themselves have been sufficient to stop the automatic increase in costs from seven percent a year irrespective of the economic trend and success of the company. A transition is now being prepared to the subsidiary Tyrolean. With its cost level, Tyrolean offers a sustainable, forward-looking and competitive foundation.
Austrian Airlines is Austria’s largest carrier and operates a global route network of round 130 destinations. In Central and Eastern Europe, the route network is particularly dense: With 46 destinations Austrian Airlines is the market leader throughout the region. Thanks to its favourable geographical location at the heart of Europe, the company’s hub at Vienna International Airport is the ideal gateway between East and West. Austrian Airlines is part of the Lufthansa Group, Europe’s largest airline group, and a member of the Star Alliance, the first global alliance of international airlines.
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