Announced today, Austrian Airlines is to retire half of its Boeing 767 fleet as it deals with its post-pandemic future. The Lufthansa Group airline has been working out how to return from a complete grounding of scheduled services.
Earlier in April, we reported that the CEO of Austrian Airlines didn’t think that passenger demand would return to normal until 2023 at the earliest. As a result, the airline has been working out how its post-pandemic future will look. Today, the airline revealed that aircraft would be retired to deal with the crisis. Lufthansa has already committed to retiring some of its aircraft.
Retiring half the Boeing 767 fleet
To cope with the projected drop in demand, Austrian Airlines will be retiring half of its Boeing 767 fleet. Austrian Airlines is the only Lufthansa Group airline to operate the Boeing 767 still. The airline operates six such aircraft. Some of these are among the oldest aircraft in the entire Lufthansa group. Only 14 Lufthansa A320 aircraft are more aged than Austrian’s oldest 767s.
Austrian is to retire three 767 jets. These are:
- OE-LAT – 28.6 years old;
- OE-LAW – 27.7 years old;
- OE-LAX – 27.4 years old.
The retirements will leave Austrian with just three remaining Boeing 767s, according to Planespotters. These are:
- OE-LAY – 21.4 years old;
- OE-LAZ – 20.7 years old;
- OE-LAE – 19.5 years old.
As a result of the retirement, the average age of Austrian’s Boeing 767 fleet will drop from 24.2 years to 20.5 years old. Moreover, the average age of the airline’s entire fleet will drop to 14.6 years.
By retiring aircraft, Austrian Airlines will be cutting its capacity by around 20%. Several smaller aircraft will also be withdrawn. The retirement will encompass the airline’s entire fleet of seven Airbus A319 aircraft. Additionally, 18 Dash turboprops will be retired early.
The airline predicts that between 25% and 50% of its demand will be lost this year. It expects that traffic will have recovered to 75% of the pre-pandemic level by the end of next year. Demand will then, hopefully, increase to 100% by the end of 2023.
As such, during 2022, the airline expects to be operating with 60 aircraft, just three-quarters of its pre-crisis fleet. However, because the focus is on retiring smaller aircraft, only 20% of the airline’s capacity will have been withdrawn. The airline’s CCO, Andreas Otto, mentioned that Austrian will “will part with the oldest and smallest aircraft… for ecological reasons.”
Not the only airline parting with planes
Austrian Airlines isn’t the only airline in the Lufthansa group to be parting with aircraft. Its parent airline Lufthansa has already announced the immediate retirement of 18 aircraft. The figure includes seven Airbus A340-600s, six Airbus A380s, and five Boeing 747-400s. The airline’s retired A340s are being sent to an aircraft graveyard in Teruel.
Will you miss Austrian’s retired aircraft? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!