|Founded||30 September 1957|
|Hubs||Vienna International Airport|
|Frequent-flyer program||Miles & More|
|Parent company||Lufthansa Group|
|Headquarters||Schwechat, Austria |
|Revenue||EUR 2.5 bn (2017)|
|Operating income||EUR 101 mio. (2017)|
|Employees||7,083 (as of Dec 2018)|
Austrian Airlines AG, sometimes shortened to Austrian, is the flag carrier of Austria and a subsidiary of the Lufthansa Group. The airline is headquartered on the grounds of Vienna International Airport in Schwechat where it also maintains its hub. It flies to six domestic and more than 120 international year-round and seasonal destinations in 55 countries as of July 2016, and is a member of the Star Alliance.
The airline was formed in 1957 by the merger of Air Austria and Austrian Airways but traces its history back to 1923 at the founding of Austrian Airways. During the 2000s, the airline expanded through the acquisitions of Rheintalflug and Lauda Air and adopted the shortened Austrian name in 2003. Throughout the decade, Austrian sustained several years of losses, and in 2008, its owner, the Austrian government, was advised to sell the airline to a foreign company. In 2009, the Lufthansa Group purchased the airline after receiving approval from the European Commission following an investigation into the tendering process.
Following disputes with staff over cost cutting, all Austrian Airlines' flights were transferred on 1 July 2012 to its subsidiary, Tyrolean Airways, which operated under the Austrian name. On 1 April 2015, all flights transferred back to Austrian, and Tyrolean Airways was merged into its parent.
On 3 May 1923, Walter Barda-Bardenau received approval by the Austrian government for establishing an airline. He participated in the newly-formed Austrian Airlines (German: Österreichische Luftverkehrs AG) with one percent, with the remaining shares going to the Austrian railway transportation company (50%) and the Junkers-Werke (49%).
The initial fleet consisted of Junkers F 13s. The first flight of the company took place in Vienna on 14 May 1923 by Munich, with pilot Hans Baur. The landing took place in Vienna Jedlesee; there occurred a conversion to float and the connecting flight to Budapest.
The company was operated by Junkers Trans European Union. Its destinations included Munich, Budapest, Nuremberg, Graz, Klagenfurt, and St. Wolfgang. Some targets in Austria were served with seaplanes. The union was dissolved in September 1926.
From 1927, the company procured new aircraft with support from the government. In the same year, it began an operating partnership agreement with Deutsche Luft Hansa. Line connections were planned and operated jointly by the two companies. A route network to Berlin, Budapest, and Milan Vienna was created. In 1932, Luft Hansa Junkers held a 49% interest. After the end of the world economic crisis, the fleet with several Junkers Ju 52/3 m was added.
In 1938, the company began planning routes to Rome, Paris, and London. Junkers Ju 90 planes were used. After the annexation of Austria by Germany in March 1938, these plans were abandoned. The airline was fully under the control of Lufthansa from 1 January 1939. In June 1939, the company was deleted from the commercial register.
After the second world war, Austria was separated from Germany, and Austria was left without a national airline. Austrian Airlines was formed as Österreichische Luftverkehrs AG through the merger of Air Austria and Austrian Airways. It began operations on 30 September 1957, making its maiden flight on 31 March 1958 when a leased Vickers Viscount 779 took off from Vienna for a scheduled service to Zurich and London. Six new Viscount 837s were delivered to the airline in early 1960. The operator's domestic services were launched on 1 May 1963. The airline's transatlantic services began on 1 April 1969 with a Vienna via Brussels to New York service in co-operation with Sabena.
At first, Austrian Airlines had competition from Adria Airways; passengers from the Austrian provinces of Styria and Carinthia were commuting to Yugoslavia to use airports in what is now Slovenia. Austrian ordered its first jet airliner, the Sud Aviation Caravelle, on 18 February 1963 and the type was operated until 1973. From 1971, Austrian started to standardise its fleet in a short time in favour of nine Douglas DC-9-32s, that would serve for many years on short- and medium-haul flights. In 1975, the first of five DC-9-51s was introduced. In 1977, Austrian became the first customer for the DC-9-80 (or McDonnell Douglas MD-80) along with Swissair.
The first MD-81 entered service in October 1980, allowing longer-range flights. In 1984, Austrian became the first customer for the MD-87 and played a significant role in the project. The first MD-87 entered service at the end of 1987, as did the MD-83 from 1990, while six MD-81s were upgraded to MD-82 standards.
In the 1990s, airlines focused on co-operation and alliances. Austrian was one of the first companies to join the Qualiflyer Group, founded by Swissair. It was also a time of quick expansion in long-haul flights, with flights to China and South Africa.
In 2000, Austrian became a member of Star Alliance and acquired Lauda Air. It acquired Rheintalflug on 15 February 2001. Its name was shortened to Austrian in September 2003, when it renamed its three constituent carriers. On 1 October 2004, the flight operations departments of Austrian and Lauda Air were merged into a single unit, leaving Lauda Air as a brand name only for charter flights. It had 6,394 employees. The other subsidiary, Tyrolean Airways, specialised in regional flights, and was merged with Rheintalflug.
In October 2006, Austrian was forced to adopt a stringent cost-saving policy, and in 2007, it eliminated over 500 jobs. Many long-haul destinations were cancelled, such as Sydney via Kuala Lumpur, Melbourne via Singapore, Kathmandu or Shanghai. Three remaining Fokker 70s were sent to Tyrolean Airways. It was also decided to abandon the long-haul Airbus planes, consisting of four Airbus A340s and four Airbus A330s, to standardise the fleet in favour of Boeing 777s and Boeing 767s. Austrian Airlines removed complimentary in-flight meals and alcoholic drinks on short-haul services, introducing what was called a "Self Select Bistro Service", except on flights from London and any flights above 100 minutes in duration. Head office moved from Oberlaa to Vienna Airport in 2007, whereas headquarters remained in Vienna.
After a small profit of 3.3 million in 2007, financial guidance for 2008 had to be changed negatively several times, to a loss of 475 million expected as of the end of November.
In June 2008, Merrill Lynch advised the Austrian government to sell the airline to a foreign company. Interest was shown by Lufthansa, Air France-KLM, Royal Jordanian, Air China, Turkish Airlines, Aeroflot, S7 Airlines, and Singapore Airlines. Of those, Lufthansa, Air France-KLM, and S7 emerged.
On 13 November 2008, state holding ÖIAG announced that Lufthansa was selected. The German company was to enter Austrian's capital with a 41.6% share, for which it would pay 366,268.75. AUA CEO Alfred Ötsch and OIAG chairman Peter Michaelis were heavily criticised for revealing to Lufthansa that it had to take over the 500 million debt only when the deal had been made binding. Michaelis refused a new tendering procedure, but was made a scapegoat with his shareholder rights removed, and Ötsch resigned on 29 January 2013.
On 1 July 2009, the European Commission initiated investigation on the acquisition for breach of free-trade rules, suspecting that the tendering process was a fake one, everything being already decided in favour of Lufthansa. Finally, with approval from the European Commission, Lufthansa purchased Austrian Airlines in September 2009.
Shares in Austrian Airlines AG were suspended on Vienna Stock Exchange on 4 February 2010. After a time of uncertainty following the demission of appointed CEO Thierry Antinori, the arrival of Jaan Albrecht as the new CEO in 2011 signalled the beginning of a new era for the airline, with improving passenger numbers and a more strategic position within the Lufthansa framework. The completion of extension works at the Vienna International Airport will give the airline more room for expansion. As a result, in January 2012, a new strategy was implemented, with the addition of 11 new aircraft in the next three years, leading to a renewal of the fleet on the long term, with Airbus planes serving medium-haul routes and Boeings serving long-haul routes.
In December 2011, a new cost-saving plan was revealed, as the company was still losing money despite eliminating 2500 jobs. Lufthansa refused to provide financial support. In March 2012, Austrian called once more for recapitalisation. Lufthansa approved a capital increase of 140 million, providing effective measure to be taken to address the structural deficiencies.
The Lauda Air subsidiary was merged into Austrian Airlines on 1 July 2012.
On April 30, 2012, after failure of negotiations over cost-cutting measures, AUA operations were taken over by subsidiary Tyrolean Airways. After this date, all Austrian flights were operated by Tyrolean. However, 110 pilots and 250 flight personnel chose not to go to Tyrolean, but to instead leave the group.
Austrian Airlines retired its final Boeing 737, a 737-800 variant in Lauda Air markings, in April 2013 as part of its fleet-consolidation exercise. The 11 Boeing 737s were replaced by seven Airbus A320s, with an expected annual saving of 17 million through the move to a single type.
In October 2014, Tyrolean's flight operations and staff were reported to be reintegrated into Austrian Airlines by 31 March 2015 as a new labour agreement had been reached. Ahead of the merger, Austrian announced an overhauled concept called "my Austrian" on 26 March 2015. It included a new corporate design, a revised aircraft livery, and a number of new routes.
In June 2015, Austrian Airlines announced the purchase of 17 Embraer 195s from within the Lufthansa Group. These Embraer aircraft, which had been owned by Lufthansa CityLine, replaced the ageing Fokker 70s and 100s. By August 2016, 8 of 17 Embraer aircraft had been delivered while 9 of 23 Fokker left the fleet. All Fokker 70s had been phased out by late July 2017.
In January 2016, Austrian Airlines announced it would revise its new branding introduced in spring 2015 by dropping the word "my" in front of Austrian. This new feature had been severely criticised.
In January 2019, the airline announced a restructuring to its fleet and network with all Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft being replaced with Airbus A320s until 2021 and all crew bases outside of Vienna being shut down and routes not going through Vienna International Airport to be moved to either Lufthansa or Eurowings.
Austrian Airlines Group is wholly owned by Lufthansa. Austrian owns shares in 24 companies, including:
Until 2008, full detailed accounts for Austrian Airlines were published in their annual reports; following the takeover by Lufthansa, only summary information for Austrian is now made available, usually by way of press release. Figures for years ending 31 December are:
|Operating profit (adjusted) (m)||−231||−65||−59||−6||25||10|
|Profit before interest, tax, depreciation, etc. (EBITDA) (m)||−72||170||107||157||201||109|
|Profit before interest and tax (EBIT) (m)||42.1||−312.1||−293.9||9||54||65||101||90|
|Net profit (m)||3.3||−429.5||−325.9|
|Number of employees (at year end)||8,031||7,914||7,066||5,934||6,777||6,236||6,208||6,067||5,984||6,450||6,914||7,083|
|Number of passengers (m)||10.8||10.7||9.9||10.9||11.3||11.5||11.3||11.2||10.8||11.4||12.9||13.9|
|Passenger load factor (%)||75.1||74.4||74.0||76.8||73.7||77.5||78.6||78.9||78.0||76.1||76.8||79.3|
|Number of aircraft (at year end)||98||99||78||77||74||75||77||81||83||83|
Citing the colours of the national flag of Austria, Austrian Airlines' colour scheme has always been a pattern of red, white, and red. Aircraft bellies were silver from the 1950s to 1980s, the upper part was white with the Austrian Airlines arrow and the text "Austrian Airlines" (until 1972, again from 1995 to 2003) or "Austrian" (19721995, from 2003 onwards). Austrian Airlines' slogan was "the friendly airline" at the time. As part of the 2015 rebranding, the blue belly and engine painting of the livery were replaced by white and red.
The Austrian Airlines' arrow ("Austrian Chevron") has seen several design modifications over the years. When created in 1960 it was redolent of the shape of a flying bird; the design became more formal in 1972. As part of a rebranding exercise in 1995, the "Chevron" was placed on the red-white-red tail fin. In the new corporate design, in use since 2003, the old "Chevron" shape was used again, this time in a more modern style and with a drop shadow placed underneath.
Several special colour schemes have been used throughout the decades. Since joining Star Alliance, a few aeroplanes have flown with Star Alliance markings. For the Mozart year in 2006, an Airbus A320 was decorated in a Mozart design, and an Airbus A340-300 was coated with an hommage to the Vienna Philharmonic orchestra. A Boeing 737-600 was given a glacier look for a Tyrol advertisement. Three designs were put on aeroplanes to mark Euro 2008. An Airbus A320 was given a retro livery to mark the company's 50th anniversary. Austrian's slogan is "the charming way to fly".
In 2006, Austrian decided to retire its A330 and A340 fleet, which consisted of four Airbus A330-200s, two Airbus A340-200s, and two Airbus A340-300s. These aircraft were sold to TAP Air Portugal, SWISS, and the French Air Force. As a result of having less long haul capacity, Austrian suspended some of its long-haul flights to East Asia. Flights to Shanghai (resumed 2016), Phuket, Mauritius, Colombo, Malé, and Kathmandu ended in 2007.
Both Australia routes - Melbourne via Singapore and Sydney via Kuala Lumpur - were terminated in March 2007, ending operations on the Kangaroo Route. Austrian was the last European-based airline offering direct flights from Melbourne to Europe. It started with Lauda aircraft, and later used Austrian Airlines aircraft.
Austrian was one of the few airlines to fly to post-war Iraq when it began flights to Erbil in December 2006. New flights to Mumbai began in November 2010 and Austrian resumed flights to Baghdad on 8 June 2011. On January 13, 2013, Austrian Airlines suspended flights to Tehran due to a lack of demand. Austrian Airlines resumed flights to Chicago on May 17, 2013, and launched Newark in 2014. Austrian Airlines started service to Mauritius in the beginning of the 2015 winter schedule. The expansion of the intercontinental network seems to indicate improving results for Austrian, with Lufthansa placing its confidence in the airline. Austrian Airlines began service to Mauritius and Miami in October 2015. Austrian Airlines commenced service to Los Angeles on April 10, 2017; which is the longest non-stop Austrian flight ever; covering a distance of over 9,877 kilometres or 6,137 miles. The flight takes about 12 hours and 30 minutes, using Boeing 777-200ER aircraft. Austrian Airlines announced it would commence service (four times a week) to Shiraz which began on July 2, 2017, with a stopover in Isfahan using Airbus A320 aircraft. Austrian Airlines announced the resumption of flights to Cape Town from 28 October 2018.
|Airbus A320-200||25||8||var.||—||var.||168||||10 used aircraft to replace Bombardier Dash 8-400s by 2021.|
|—||4||180||4 to be operated by Eurowings Europe.|
|De Havilland Dash 8-400||16||—||var.||—||var.||76||||To be retired and replaced with Airbus A320-200 by 2021.|
Austrian Airlines also wet-leases two Bombardier CRJ900s from Adria Airways. Austrian could also receive some Boeing 787-9s ordered by the Lufthansa Group to replace their ageing Boeing 767-300ERs and 777-200ERs.
Over the years, Austrian Airlines operated the following aircraft types:
|Airbus A330-200||1998||2007||Disposed to TAP Air Portugal|
|Airbus A340-200||1995||2007||Disposed to French Air Force|
|Airbus A340-300||1997||2007||Disposed to Swiss International Air Lines|
|Boeing 737-600||2008||2012||Former Lauda Air fleet|
|Boeing 737-700||2008||2012||Former Lauda Air fleet|
|Fokker 70||1995||2017||Replaced by Embraer 195|
|Fokker 100||2004||2017||Replaced by Embraer 195|
|McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32||1971||1990|
|McDonnell Douglas DC-9-51||1975||1985|
|McDonnell Douglas MD-81||1980||1999|
|McDonnell Douglas MD-82||1983||2005|
|McDonnell Douglas MD-83||1993||2005|
|McDonnell Douglas MD-87||1987||2005|
|Sud Aviation SE-210 Caravelle||1963||1973|
Austrian operates several lounges at its hub in Vienna. There are three Business, two Senator and two HON-Circle lounges. It also operates a Business lounge at Domodedovo International Airport in Moscow.
Do & Co has handled catering for Austrian Airlines since 2007. On long-haul flights, Business Class meals are prepared by a chef on board.
As of 2011 all Austrian planes of the Airbus A320 family are equipped with new seats and a new cabin design. By September 2013 Austrian's entire long-haul-fleet (Boeing 767 and Boeing 777) also got new seats and a new cabin design. It contains full-flat-beds with a pneumatics-system and aisle access from nearly every seat in Business Class, and new seats with video-on-demand for every passenger in Economy Class.
Austrian myHoliday replaced Lauda Air as Austrian Airlines' holiday brand in April 2013 and was renamed into myAustrian Holidays in mid-2015. It operates seasonal charter flights at own risk and in co-operation with tour operators as well as exclusive ad-hoc charter flights. All charter flights are operated by Austrian Airlines aircraft and crew. A Do & Co board service is served on all flights.
Flight destinations Seasonal holiday flights in 2017/18 are offered to 40 destinations in 10 countries.
Flight number range myAustrian Holidays flights cover a dedicated range of flight numbers.
Media related to Austrian Airlines at Wikimedia Commons