A Fond Farewell: Austrian Retires Its Final Dash 8 Aircraft

Austrian Airlines has today bid farewell to the last of its Dash 8 turboprops. The final flight took place between Vienna and Innsbruck with a specially liveried Dash 8 featuring the words “Pfiat di” – goodbye. The retirement of the final Dash marks the end of turboprop operations at Austrian Airlines.

Austrian final Dash 8 flight
Austrian Airlines has begun its final rotation for the Dash 8-Q400. Photo: Austrian Airlines

Pfiat di, Dash!

Today, Austrian Airlines is operating its final passenger flight with its Dash 8 aircraft. OE-LGI took off from Vienna International Airport (VIE) at 13:55 local time today, and is currently on route to Innsbruck (INN) with an estimated arrival time of 14:20. The aircraft will return to Vienna later this afternoon, which will be the last time it, or any other Dash aircraft, flies for Austrian Airlines.

OE-LGI was first delivered to Tyrolean Airways in January 2005. However, it wasn’t the first Dash to arrive in the fleet. In April 1980, Tyrolean took delivery of Europe’s first Dash 8 predecessor, the DHC-7. Five years later, it began operating the Dash 8-100, finding the regional turboprops ideally suited to the short runways of Austra’s regional airports.

Tyrolean DHC-7
Tyrolean was the first airline to operate the Dash 7 in Europe. Photo: Pedro Aragão via Wikimedia

By the time Austrian merged with Tyrolean in 1998, 44 different Dash 8s across the -100, -300 and -400 varients had flown for the airline. 18 Dash 8-Q400s were retained and went on to fly in Austrian colors.

Today, 10 of the 18 have been officially retired from the fleet. One, OE-LGA, has been re-registered as G-CLXC in the UK, and is the first aircraft registered to the new flybe. Others have gone on to find new homes in Canada (with PAL Airlines) and South America (with Amaszonas). Some, sadly, have already been scrapped.

The final eight will leave the fleet in the coming months. Perhaps the new flybe will give a home to one or two more?

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Austrian Dash 8
Austrian’s Dash 8s have transported more than 20 million passengers over the years. Photo: Julian Herzog via Wikimedia

More than 20 million passengers

Over the years, the Dash 8-Q400 aircraft of Austrian Airlines have transported more than 20.4 million passengers. The fleet has traveled more than 237 million kilometers (127 million miles), enough to take you to the moon and back 310 times! Combined together, the fleet of Dash 8s have spent an incredible 54 years in the air, all accident-free.

Although the removal of the Dash from the Austrian fleet marks the end of an era, the airline says it is in a good position to replace the aircraft. Going forwards, its fleet will focus on Boeing, Airbus and Embraer aircraft only. CCO Michael Trestl said,

“Austrian Airlines is well prepared for the fleet retirement of the Dash. With the comfortable, efficient Embraer and Airbus aircraft, we will continue to offer our passengers a good feeder service with Vienna as our hub.”

The Dash has touched the lives of many technicians, pilots, cabin crew and more. As such, the airline released a heartwarming video paying tribute to the mighty Dash ahead of the last flight today.

Fleet manager for the Dash 8 at Austrian, Thomas Bleimuth, added that,

“At peak times, the Dash 8-Q400 completed up to 44,000 individual flights per year. With this type of aircraft, it was also possible to fly to particularly demanding locations.”

To celebrate the history of the aircraft, Austrian Airlines has released a new book called the Dash Chronicle. It’s available in German at the airline’s ‘Jetshop’ as well as its pop-up store in Vienna.

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