Austrian Airlines Acquiring 11 Boeing 787-9s

Austrian Airlines Acquiring 11 Boeing 787-9s

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In April 2023, Austrian Airlines revealed plans to refresh its long haul fleet, replacing its existing wide body aircraft with Boeing 787s. There’s now a major update, as the first new(ish) jet is just months from entering service, and we now know exactly what Austrian’s plans are.

Austrian replacing 767s & 777s with 787s

Austrian’s long haul fleet currently consists of nine aircraft, including three Boeing 767-300ERs and six Boeing 777-200ERs. In order to modernize its fleet, Austrian will be taking delivery of 11 Boeing 787-9s. So that means the airline is not only refreshing its long haul fleet, but is also expanding it, which is pretty exciting.

The first Boeing 787 Dreamliner will join Austrian’s fleet in 2024, and the fleet refresh should be complete by 2028, at which point all previous generation long haul aircraft will be retired.

Austrian Airlines will retire all Boeing 767s

Austrian’s 767s are an average of around 24 years old, while Austrian’s 777s are an average of around 23 years old, so it’s good that there are firm plans to replace these aircraft, and to even grow the long haul fleet by two aircraft.

For context on this aircraft acquisition, Lufthansa Group (the parent company of Lufthansa, SWISS, Austrian, and Brussels) has ordered dozens of Boeing 787-9s, Airbus A350-900s, and Airbus A350-1000s. The company didn’t initially reveal exactly which planes would go to which airlines, though as time has gone on, we’ve learned more and more about what to expect.

Austrian Airlines is getting 10 Boeing 787-9s

So far, here’s what we know about how these plane orders will be allocated:

  • All Airbus A350-1000s will be operated by Lufthansa, and will be flown out of Munich with first class
  • At least five Airbus A350-900s will be operated by SWISS, replacing Airbus A340-300s
  • Lufthansa will operate the majority of Airbus A350-900s and Boeing 787-9s, though the exact number remains to be seen
  • Austrian will get 11 Boeing 787-9s, though most of these aren’t part of the new aircraft orders, as I’ll explain below
Airbus A350-1000s are exclusively going to Lufthansa

Austrian will fly 787s as of June 2024

We’re just months away from Austrian starting flights with its Boeing 787s. Specifically, the airline has revealed the first routes to get the new aircraft:

  • As of June 15, 2024, Austrian will start flying the 787 between Vienna (VIE) and New York (JFK) on the OS87/88 frequency
  • As of July 1, 2024, Austrian will start flying the 787 between Vienna (VIE) and Chicago (ORD) on the OS65/66 frequency

It’s cool to think that by this summer, two of Austrian’s transatlantic routes will be operated by more modern aircraft. If you ask me, Austrian is the Lufthansa Group airline with the best business class soft product. Austrian has exceptional inflight catering, with an onboard chef, an amazing coffee menu, and delicious food. When the airline also has new seats, it’ll be a force to be reckoned with across the Atlantic.

Austrian’s first two 787s will be former Bamboo Airways jets

The first two Boeing 787s that Austrian takes delivery of will be former Bamboo Airways jets. For context, the Vietnamese airline has been undergoing a restructuring, and has dumped all of its Boeing 787s. So Austrian is currently in the process of taking delivery of these jets.

The planes will feature the same cabin layout, with 294 seats, including 26 business class seats, 21 premium economy seats, and 247 economy seats. This is a fairly recent development, as Austrian only recently decided to expand its long haul fleet in this way.

You can read my review of Bamboo Airways’ 787 business class here.

Bamboo Airways Boeing 787-9
Bamboo Airways Boeing 787-9 business class

Austrian’s next five 787s will be former Lufthansa jets

The next five Boeing 787s that Austrian takes delivery of also won’t be new aircraft. Instead, they’ll be aircraft that are transfered from Lufthansa. Lufthansa has acquired five Boeing 787-9s that were initially intended for Hainan Airlines, and these planes have a totally different onboard product, as Lufthansa didn’t customize it to its own experience.

So you can expect these planes to eventually join Austrian’s fleet, though we don’t know about the timeline just yet. The initial plan was for them to join Austrian’s fleet in 2024, though due to Lufthansa’s own delivery delays, that might be pushed back quite a bit.

The planes will feature the same cabin layout as the former Bamboo Airways jets, with 294 seats, including 26 business class seats, 21 premium economy seats, and 247 economy seats.

You can read my review of Lufthansa’s 787 business class here.

Lufthansa Boeing 787-9
Lufthansa Boeing 787-9 business class

What about Austrian’s other four 787s?

We know what to expect from Austrian’s first seven Boeing 787s, though one question as of now is what happens with Austrian’s other four Boeing 787s, since those will be acquired new. As of now, the airline is simply stating that the Boeing 787s will feature an “innovative cabin concept” that “enhances comfort for guests.”

As we know, Lufthansa is rolling out a new business class product, which will be known as Allegris. This is launching at some point in 2024 on both Boeing 787-9s and Airbus A350-900s.

New Lufthansa Allegris business class

SWISS plans to introduce the same product on its Airbus A350-900s, except with SWISS branding, and the product will be known as SWISS Senses.

New SWISS Senses business class

However, as of now there hasn’t been any public commitment to Austrian getting the same product. In terms of efficiency, you’d think that Austrian would just get the same product with its own finishes, but that’s not confirmed one way or another.

Regardless, we’re at least a couple of years off from finding out, since it’ll probably be 2026 before the airline takes delivery of its actual first “new” 787. But it’s very possible that Austrian’s 787 fleet will have two different business class products.

Bottom line

Austrian Airlines will be acquiring 11 Boeing 787s between 2024 and 2028, which will be used to refresh the carrier’s long haul fleet. At that point Austrian’s 767s and 777s will be fully retired.

The first two 787s to join Austrian’s fleet will be former Bamboo Airways jets, the next five 787s to join Austrian’s fleet will be former Lufthansa jets, and then the remaining four 787s should be new jets (though who really knows). You can expect the two Bamboo Airways jets to join Austrian’s fleet shortly, and enter service as of June 2024.

What do you make of Austrian’s long haul fleet renewal plans?

Conversations (19)
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  1. Adam Guest

    what about Premium Economy that Bamboo used to have? Will austrian replace the cabin with Y seats?

    1. KB Guest

      Austrian will have 21 Premium Economy seats.

  2. Weymar Osborne Gold

    Seems like a rather fortuitous stroke of luck that both the ex-Bamboo Airways and Hainan Airlines planes have the exact same cabin layout. Surely Lufthansa couldn't have planned that out from the beginning, right?

    1. StevieMIA Guest

      Wonderful coincidence! so they don't even have to try to pretend they are eager to introduce new planes with new cabins, this is so funny given Lufthansa group puts the same seats and cabins on every plane, the jokes write themselves.

  3. GetReal Guest

    When other airlines are going premium heavy, Austrian is going to launch these jets with a small business cabin. Presumably they’ll reconfigure the interior at a later date and standardize the fleet.

    1. Barbarella Guest

      You could imagine they keep the Hainan config (reverse herringbone) for now and once all the LH/LX Allegris planes are delivered, Austrian will get its newly-built 787s in Allegris config and the Hainan ones will be reconfigured subsequently as LH and LX get retrofits on their own old planes.

      This will allow OS to communicate twice in less than 10 years that they get a new business class. That a good PR opportunity.

  4. jsm Guest

    I just want to agree with the statement regarding Austrian Air's business class soft product. The last time I flew them was LAX nonstop to VIE on the 777, and totally agree with that statement. I want to add that the dessert cart was also superb - the Austrians really know how to do dessert.

    The LAX to VIE service seems to be seasonal, and it is without a doubt the best way to fly...

    I just want to agree with the statement regarding Austrian Air's business class soft product. The last time I flew them was LAX nonstop to VIE on the 777, and totally agree with that statement. I want to add that the dessert cart was also superb - the Austrians really know how to do dessert.

    The LAX to VIE service seems to be seasonal, and it is without a doubt the best way to fly from the West Coast to Vienna. Being nonstop one settles in and doesn't end up stumbling around some European airport very early (London, Paris, Frankfurt) to make a connection.

  5. Tim Dunn Diamond

    Austrian is the smallest of the "central Europe" core LH Group airlines, the 787 is best suited for that role, and LH Group is trying to clean up the fleet at its airlines for operational efficiency.
    The 787-9 is a good airplane; it is just not a great aircraft to be the largest new generation aircraft in a large global carrier's fleet. Since OS lives in the shadow of LH, the 787 works fine for them.

    1. Scudder Diamond

      “The 787 is good, but it is not great at being what it is not.” Profound insight there, buddy.

  6. Ben Guest

    Poor Austrian Airlines - they are like the youngest child and getting all the "hand-me-downs"

    1. UncleRonnie Gold

      Hey, at least they aren't getting some ancient A340s from LH. :)

  7. lavanderialarry Guest

    The OS 767s and 777s are 25+ years old. It's time to swap them out, even if the airline itself isn't profitable.

    1. ArnoldB Guest

      They are profitable and have been profitable before the pandemic as well. For some reason people just keep making up that they aren't.

    2. styleonthegothurston Guest

      Marginally, at best.

    3. Jerry Wheen Gold

      I've flown the 767 recently, and it's a fine plane to ride in - in all classes of service.

  8. InceptionCat Guest

    You need to update that article. The first 2 787s are former Bamboo Airways planes and these will be arriving in March. These have the same config as the LH 787s as the were all initially intended for Hainan. OS will end up with 11 787s.

    LH is not giving them the 5 787s anytime soon as it needs them itself due to the delayed Allegris disaster.
    Give Aerotelegraph a read.

  9. James Guest

    Are you sure this is the plan? The generally very reliable EAF sites page seems to suggest Austrian will take 12 787s, and the first 2 to arrive will be ex-Bamboo Airways ones that they've recently acquired. This has also been reported in German media. Would make sense, given these have the same seats as the LH ones.

    Also, the Austrian CEO has indicated that the first 787s will be used for "growth". That wouldn't be possible if they were only taking delivery of 10.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ James -- I missed the Bamboo Airways update, thanks. Updated the post now to reflect that.

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Syd Guest

Isn't an Austrian 787 sexy af?

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Tim Dunn Diamond

Austrian is the smallest of the "central Europe" core LH Group airlines, the 787 is best suited for that role, and LH Group is trying to clean up the fleet at its airlines for operational efficiency. The 787-9 is a good airplane; it is just not a great aircraft to be the largest new generation aircraft in a large global carrier's fleet. Since OS lives in the shadow of LH, the 787 works fine for them.

1
KB Guest

Austrian will have 21 Premium Economy seats.

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