Austrian Airlines CCO: “we want to avoid empty flights at all costs”

30 Apr 2020 by Mark Caswell
Brussels Airlines aircraft stored at Brussels airport

Lufthansa Group carriers Austrian and Brussels Airlines have both extended flight suspensions until the start of June.

Both airlines had already suspended all scheduled services until mid-May, but have now extended the grounding of their fleet until May 31.

“Unlike some competitors, we want to avoid empty flights at all costs,” said Austrian’s CCO Andreas Otto. “We will only take off when a new start makes sense for Austrian Airlines and when the ease of travel restrictions makes this possible.”

Last week Austrian announced plans to retire half of its B767 fleet and all of the carrier’s A319 aircraft by 2022, with Otto warning that passengers numbers were unlikely to reach pre-coronavirus levels until 2023 at the earliest.

Austrian Airlines B767

Meanwhile Lufthansa Group has provided an update on reduced services currently being offered by member carriers Lufthansa, Swiss and Eurowings.

Lufthansa is operating 15 weekly long-haul flights from Frankfurt to Newark, Chicago, Sao Paulo, Bangkok and Tokyo, as well as a total of 330 weekly services from Frankfurt and Munich “to the most important cities in Germany and Europe”.

From May 18 the German carrier will also operate flights from Frankfurt to Athens, Porto and Gothenburg under a reduced repatriation flight schedule, and domestic flights from Munich will be doubled.

Lufthansa Blue livery

Swiss will continue to offer three weekly long-haul flights from Zurich and Geneva to Newark, as well as a substantially reduced timetable for short- and medium-haul services to selected European cities”.

Finally Eurowings will continue to offer a skeleton programme of flights from Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Stuttgart and Cologne to domestic and selected European destinations.

This week Lufthansa Group announced it would introduce mandatory face masks for all passengers travelling on its flights from May 4, initially until the end of August.

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