LONDON – Two elements of news have been announced today from Austrian Airlines regarding fleet renewal and also a brand new route.

Farewell to the Dash…

First of all, the airline has received its first of 10 additional Airbus A320 aircraft, which are being delivered to replace its Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 fleet.

Those ten new units, with the final one set to be delivered in 2021, will replace the 18 turboprop aircraft.

The deal itself was announced back in January and July respectively when contracts for six additional units was signed to take four away from Avianca Brasil and the other two from carrier Juneyao Airlines.

The other four units are to come from lessors Aviation Capital Group.

The first four units are currently being modified, with OE-LZD, one of the units already in the Austrian Technik plant in Vienna.

OE-LZF (also to be delivered this month) is currently in Jacksonville, Florida undergoing modification with OE-LZC having just landed at the Fokker plant in Woensdrecht, Netherlands.

Furthermore, OE-LZE will then take-off for the Netherlands in the next few weeks for modifications also before a November 2019 delivery.

OE-LZC will also be delivered in November 2019, with OE-LZA and LZB from Juneyao to be handed over in 2020.

It is unclear when the other four units will be delivered but based on operational data, it will be sometime between January 2020 to sometime in 2021.

To Birmingham from Wien…

Birmingham Airport reported on the same day that the carrier will begin services to Vienna from January 1 next year.

This service, however, does not correspond with the new deliveries as an Embraer 195 aircraft will operate the route, offering 112 seats in Economy and eight in Business.

Commenting on the news was Andreas Otto, the Chief Commercial Officer at Austrian Airlines who remained committed to maintaining its number one position in Austria.

“We will remain number one in Austria – in five, six or ten years’ time. Austrian Airlines will coordinate the flights from the Vienna hub, while Eurowings will handle the decentralised traffic. We will connect high-demand routes such as Birmingham more closely to our hub and increase the frequency of flights.”

The four times per week service will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays accordingly.

The outbound will depart Wien at 1105L, before arriving into Birmingham at 1230L. 1315L will be time of departure from Birmingham before it arrives back into Vienna at 1635L.

Also commenting on this route launch was Tom Screen, the Aviation Director for Birmingham Airport who expressed great welcome for the carrier.

“It’s great news that Austrian Airlines will become our newest carrier in January with services to Vienna, Austrian’s beautiful capital city.”

“With services initially operating four times weekly, the carrier will grow to daily flights by the summer 2020 and we look forward to welcoming yet another Star Alliance carrier to Birmingham Airport which will provide more choice to onward destinations across Asia and Eastern Europe.”

When the Summer 2020 schedule kicks in for the airline, this service will upgrade to a daily service with the same aircraft.

However, it could be suggested that with the increased frequencies in the summer, any excessive demand could result in larger equipment being used.

It remains clear that if Austrian continues on the path that it is going, we could see extended growth for existing routes as well as brand new routes for the Austrian mainline portfolio, away from the already vast Lufthansa Group route list.

If the Birmingham route proves to be just as successful, especially as we enter the post-BREXIT United Kingdom, then we will definitely see equipment upgrades within the next 12-18 months.