Austrian Airlines Suspends Operations

Filed Under: Austrian

UPDATE: Austrian Airlines extended the suspension of their flights until June 14, 2020.

Austrian Airlines is joining the list of airlines that are suspending operations

Austrian suspends operations as of Wednesday

Austrian Airlines has announced that they will terminate all regularly scheduled flight operations until further notice as of Wednesday, March 18, 2020. The last flight for the time being will be OS66 from Chicago to Vienna, which will land on the morning of March 19.

As of now the airline is canceling flights through March 28, 2020, though cancelations are expected to extend beyond that. Passengers on canceled flights will be rebooked on other airlines.

The airline says that this is being done in response to entry bans being imposed across the globe, as well as the rapid decline in demand for air travel.

Even prior to that, flight operations will be scaled back, with the goal of bringing passengers, crew, and aircraft home as much as possible.

Austrian will keep two planes ready to go

Austrian Airlines is grounding a vast majority of their fleet, though will keep one wide body and one narrow body ready to go, in case there’s a need for evacuation and other relief or emergency flights. These would be carried out in cooperation with the government.

“This is not a goodbye”

Austrian Airlines is saying that they are preparing for a relaunch after the crisis, as the company takes a “flexible approach towards restarting the business.”

As Austrian’s CEO describes it, this is “so that we can be ready to go as soon as possible once demand recovers. This is not a ‘goodbye,’ it’s a ‘servus’ and ‘see you later.'”

Bottom line

Austrian Airlines is the first of the Lufthansa Group airlines to shut down completely. Given the structure of the Lufthansa Group, I’d also expect that they’re most likely to be the only carrier in the group to shut down completely.

There is quite a bit of overlap between airlines in the group, so chances are that most passengers can be accommodated on Lufthansa or SWISS to their destinations.

There’s something about the tone of this message that I appreciate. This isn’t just a simple “we’re suspending operations for a couple of weeks” announcement, but rather the tone is more “that’s it from us for now, we’ll be back eventually.”

I feel bad for the employees who will be impacted by these cuts, though unfortunately this was inevitable…

  1. Well, Austrian might be folded into Eurowings once the coronavirus is over. They lost considerable amount of money over the past several years, and if they continued like this, Lufthansa will be pissed off.

  2. @Scott
    Friend that works for Lufthansa will be furlough without pay. Not sure about this “It’s Europe, employee will be paid”. Do you mean unemployment benefit?

  3. The system in Austria is that the employees will go on a short-term work, where the workload is reduced by x% and the government pays partly or fully the gap between 100% and x%. Everyone keeps their jobs. Thats part of the social system in Austria and the government just made 4 Billion Euro available for measures like this last night by law.

    In addition this shutdown is more triggered by Austrian politics and the cut-off of the country to the rest of the world. Currently the German and Swiss government are in similar talks to shut-down all airports, therefore I do not share Luckys point that Austrian will be the only carrier in the Lufthansa Group. It all depends on the governments decision on how to isolate their countries in Europe. There are also plans by the EU to ban all flights into the EU for 30 days, which will also have an impact on all carriers.

  4. @ loop86

    Unless they are made redundant. They get a payout from Austrian, which varies depending on the length of service etc., and are then unemployed.

  5. @airfarer
    Which is not happening in Austria, this is not America, there are laws and social systems in place for such cases plus a government that is keen to keep its biggest airline alive.

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