Austrian Airlines said goodbye – or Pfiat di – to its Dash-8-Q400s on May 31st, with the final flight the domestic link from Innsbruck to Vienna. The carrier was the world’s eighth-largest user of the DH4 in 2019. That year, Austrian used the aircraft on 44 routes, with Innsbruck to Frankfurt the thickest.
Austrian’s 18-strong fleet of Q400s were not in its own fleet for long, arriving as they did in 2015 following the merger with the regional subsidiary, Tyrolean Airways. All of the aircraft were fully owned, with the majority retired in 2019 and 2020, with the rest gradually withdrawn this year.
More retirements are coming
Austrian hasn’t stopped with retirements. The carrier’s seven-strong fleet of A319s and three B767-300ERs are due to be retired by the end of 2022, if not sooner. So, like many other airlines worldwide, it will emerge from this crisis smaller than previously, but hopefully with a stronger foundation – and better to build on going forward.
The eighth-largest Dash-8-400 user
Austrian was the world’s eighth-largest user of the DH4 in pre-coronavirus 2019, analyzing OAG schedules data reveals. It had 2.27 million seats by the type, meaning it had more than airBaltic – which has also withdrawn the type, along with its Boeing 737-300s – but slightly less than LOT Polish.
- WestJet (Encore): 8.31 million round-trip seats in 2019
- Flybe: 8.26 million; ceased operating
- Air Canada Express: 8.25 million
- Alaska Airlines (Horizon Air): 6.16 million
- QantasLink: 4.65 million
- Porter: 4.28 million
- LOT Polish: 2.39 million
- Austrian Airlines: 2.27 million
- airBaltic: 1.98 million; no longer operated
- Eurowings (LGW): 1.90 million; no longer operated
44 routes saw the Q400 in 2019
Austrian used the 76-seat Q400 on 44 routes in 2019. Almost all (38) were from Vienna, typically providing important feed for onward services. The average sector length was 379 miles, with the shortest just 94 miles (Graz-Vienna) and the longest 1,080 miles (Linz-Rhodes). The route to Greece operated once-weekly for 15 weeks, with a block time of up to three hours and 25 minutes.
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Perhaps unexpectedly, the thickest route wasn’t to or from Vienna, although its hub featured eight times in the top-10 route list, below, with a strong focus on domestic services. Instead, its largest route was the 230-mile service from Innsbruck to Frankfurt, operated to feed Lufthansa, which normally had four but sometimes even five daily departures.
- Innsbruck to Frankfurt: 223,592 round-trip seats
- Klagenfurt-Vienna: 179,360
- Prague-Vienna: 163,856
- Graz-Vienna: 150,024
- Budapest-Vienna: 139,688
- Innsbruck-Vienna: 122,360
- Vienna-Zagreb: 118,560
- Salzburg-Vienna: 106,172
- Krakow-Vienna: 101,992
- Düsseldorf-Graz: 91,656
A day in the life of Austrian’s DH4s
On June 4th, 2019, Austrian had 205 departures from Vienna across all of its fleet. Its Q400s had 35 departures or nearly one-fifth of the total; it played an important role. Some 24 routes saw the type that day, with the timetable from Vienna shown below.
|Departure time from Vienna||To…|
Klagenfurt had the most departures, with four, followed by Budapest and Zagreb with three apiece. Odesa is interesting. At 672 miles, it was a pretty long turboprop route. It left Vienna at 23:10 – timed as always for connections – and arrived in Ukraine at 02:05 (plus one hour). Returning, it arrived back into Austria at 06:10, timed for onward services.
Did you fly Austria’s Dash-8-Q400s? If so, where? Let us know in the comments.