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Austrian Airlines Fleet Growth for the First Time in 7 Years
• The “Blue Danube“ takes off to New York tomorrow
• Investment of EUR 50 million, 130 new employees
The new long-haul aircraft operated by Austrian Airlines, a Boeing 777-200ER with the registration OE-LPE, will take off two weeks earlier than planned at 10:45 a.m., departing on its maiden flight from Vienna to John F. Kennedy Airport in New York. The latest addition to the Austrian Airlines fleet entails an investment of about EUR 50 million. More than EUR 20 million was required just to refit the aircraft. On balance, each of the 308 high-tech seats on board costs as much as a medium-sized car. The business class seats can be converted into flat beds, and every seat is equipped with a video-on-demand.
However, Austrian Airlines did not only invest money in the aircraft, but the new addition to the fleet is the basis for creating a total of 130 new jobs, including 20 pilots and 90 flight attendants. The management of Austrian Airlines expects this small-scale expansion to result in increased operating revenue of EUR 80 million and 170,000 new passengers on a yearly basis. Moreover, it also enables a new long-haul route, Newark in New Jersey, to be added to the airline’s route network starting on July 2, 2014.
“This is the first time in seven years that Austrian Airlines is expanding its fleet”, says CEO Jaan Albrecht. “Accordingly, the aircraft which will be baptized with the name Blue Danube by employees on June 27th will serve as a kind of symbol for a fresh start”.
A total of 40,000 man-hours were needed to modify the aircraft and carry out a C check. An additional 17,000 hours were required for preparatory work such as specification and planning. 200 modifications and a completely new aircraft cabin were necessary in order to upgrade the aircraft to meet Austrian Airlines standards. As a consequence, the conversion of the aircraft turned out to be the biggest project carried out by the technical subsidiary Austrian Airlines Technik in the airline’s history. The Blue Danube is the fifth Boeing 777 in the Austrian Airlines fleet. The aircraft is the largest twin-engine passenger jet in the world. It is only permitted to weigh 295 tons on takeoff, is 64 meters long and has a wing span of 61 meters. This is almost as much as the width of the playing field at Hanappi Stadium in Vienna.
The aircraft offers room for 312 passengers, namely 264 in the Economy Class and 48 in the Business Class. The fully loaded aircraft happens to be more economical than an automobile. In spite of its engines which are the equivalent of 2 x 52,000 PS, the Boeing 777 only requires 3.4 liters of fuel for every 100 passenger kilometers.
With the addition of the Blue Danube, the fleet of the Austrian Airlines Group has been expanded to eleven wide-bodied aircraft. On balance, Austria‘s domestic airline operates a total of 75 aircraft offering flight service to 130 destinations. In the year 2013, Austrian Airlines once again posted an operating profit for the first time after six years in the red following a tough restructuring program.
Austrian Airlines is Austria’s largest carrier and operates a global route network of round 130 destinations. That route network is particularly dense in Central and Eastern Europe with 41 destinations. 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. The flight operations of the Austrian Airlines Group has been bundled at its 100% subsidiary Tyrolean Airways since 1st July, 2012.
The Star Alliance network was established in 1997 as the first truly global airline alliance to offer worldwide reach, recognition and seamless service to the international traveller. Its acceptance by the market has been recognized by numerous awards, including the Air Transport World Market Leadership Award and Best Airline Alliance by both Business Traveller Magazine and Skytrax. The member airlines are: Adria Airways, Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EGYPTAIR, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, THAI and United. Air India has been announced as a future member airline with Avianca Brazil to join under the existing Avianca membership. Overall, the Star Alliance network offers more than 18,000 daily flights to 1,269 airports in 193 countries.
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