LONDON – Austrian Airlines sent a briefing out to the press with its set strategic plans for 2019.
The carrier has managed to complete a successful turnaround program, which featured challenging restructuring periods which has now resulted in strong profitability.
Passenger numbers have increased by 8.5% year-on-year and is set to rise even further with Austrian’s plans.
2019 will see the airline launch services between Montreal and Vienna. The service is scheduled to begin on April 29 this year.
This service in particular will operate on a daily basis in the summer and will be downgraded to five times per week throughout the winter periods.
On the U.S side of things, services to the likes of New York and Chicago have seen considerable enough success to deem further upgrades to daily flights collectively.
On a consistent perspective also, these flights have seen the new Premium Economy product being introduced on those flights.
Alexis von Hoensbroech, the CEO of Austrian gave a big announcement to the media of all of these developments.
“We will invest more than EUR 200 million in the expansion of our continental fleet and thus be able to significantly strengthen our position in Vienna”.
“At the same time, this should also be considered as a clear challenge to the increasingly tough competition in Vienna, and we are prepared to take further steps to defend our position at our flight hub in Vienna”.
The airline is aiming to increase its Airbus fleet from 36 aircraft to 46 aircraft by 2022 with a simultaneous strategy of phasing out its 18 Dash 8 Q400s.
In order to balance such phasing out, flights on offer from Vienna will increase by 10% using the Airbus A320 aircraft in the fleet.
April 2019 will see Lufthansa Aviation Training begin construction on expanding the simulator training center in Vienna Airport that will fit another two Airbus A320 simulators, bringing the total count to six.
As a result of the plans to phase out the Dash 8s, bilateral flight traffic between Austria and Germany within the Lufthansa Group will be reorganized on a more decentralised level.
Four aircraft that are currently deployed by SWISS under wet lease agreements will be transferred to Vienna at the end of the winter flight schedule.
This means the airline will transfer all existing flight crew located in Altenrhein, Graz, Innsbruck, Klagenfurt, Linz and Salzburg all to Vienna, affecting around 200 employees.
This entire strategy is part of the #DriveTo25 campaign which the board released earlier this week.
It seems that Austrian is indeed adapting to the current conditions of what is already a volatile aviation market.
They are still growing however, which does show good signs for international growth, but with Austro-German operations altering slightly, it could put more focus into profitability on the European side for sure.