December 16, 2013
Austrian Airlines CEO Jaan Albrecht says 2014 will be the year during which the airline will have to demonstrate that its drastic restructuring and cost-cutting efforts have been worthwhile.
“I have big hopes,” Albrecht declares. “I am confident that we can carefully, gradually build up Austrian.”
The carrier will add a Boeing 777-200 next year, “the first widebody aircraft addition since many years,” Albrecht notes. As part of the build-up phase, Austrian will launch a new route to New York Newark Liberty Airport in the summer and increase the frequency of its four current North American services to daily.
The leased 777 will be Austrian Airlines’ fifth 777-200ER and bring its long-haul fleet to 11 aircraft—five 777s and six 767-300ERs. All of the widebodies have been retrofitted with new interiors and fully flat beds in the business-class cabins.
The airline’s 14 Bombardier Q400 and 23 Fokker F100/F70 cabins also got a facelift, and Austrian is analyzing whether to increase the number of seats on its Airbus A320-family aircraft.
Austrian Airlines (which transferred its complete operations to its regional subsidiary Tyrolean Airways as part of its overhaul) deploys seven Airbus A319s, 16 A320s and six A321 aircraft, according to the AWIN Commercial Fleet Database,
Speaking to Aviation Week during the Association of European Airlines’ recent Aviation Leadership Summit in Brussels, Albrecht says “the game was almost over for Austrian some years ago, but it is different now. Now we have a strategy and the right foundation for sustainable growth.” He expects to end the year with an operating profit, after reducing the carrier’s operating loss after exceptional items to €11 million ($15 million) in 2012, from €62 million in 2011.
In the first nine months of 2013, Austrian Airlines recorded an operating profit of €19 million on a 3.9% decrease in revenue, to €1.57 billion.