After having undergone several changes to its fleet, including the retirement of all its Dash 8 turboprops, we thought we would look at the Austrian Airlines fleet in 2021. Before we get into that, let’s first look at the airline’s overall picture and where it sees itself going forward.
Based at Vienna International Airport (VIE) near the village of Schwechat, southeast of Vienna, Austrian Airlines is the national flag carrier of the Republic of Austria, a landlocked country in the southern part of Central Europe. Often referred to as the gateway into Eastern Europe from its base at VIE, Austrian Airlines has successfully linked former Eastern Bloc counties with Europe and beyond.
Austrian Airlines is a part of the Lufthansa Group
Today, Austrian Airlines operates a route network of around 130 destinations, 40 of which are in Central and Eastern Europe. Austrian Airlines is also a part of the Lufthansa Group, Europe’s most extensive airline network, and a member of the Star Alliance, the first alliance of international airlines.
In May of 2021, Austrian Airlines retired its last Dash 8 turboprop to curb carbon emissions. Like all airlines, Austrian suffered from the massive downturn in flights brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and needed help from the Austrian government to survive. As a part of its €600 million bailout, the government insisted that all services that were less than three hours and could be conducted by train needed to be scrapped. Austrian Airlines accepted this and canceled many of its domestic services.
Austrian Airlines has Airbus, Boeing, and Embraer planes
Now solely focused on a fleet of modern jet aircraft, let’s see what the Austrian Airlines fleet looks like in 2021. According to aviation data and statistics website ch-aviation, Austrian Airlines has a fleet of 68 planes that is made up of the following aircraft:
- 5 x Airbus A319-100
- 29 x Airbus A320-200
- 3 x Airbus A321-100
- 3 x Airbus A321-200
- 4 x Boeing 767-300ER
- 6 x Boeing 777-200ER
- 17 x Embraer 195
As we can see from the above list, the Austrian Airlines fleet comprises three different aircraft manufacturer’s planes. Many airlines are opting to go with just one planemaker to help streamline training and operating costs. Austrian Airlines has not done this, and there is no indication that it might if we look at the future order book, which is empty.
Airbus A320 family of jets
Austrian Airlines operates 40 Airbus A320 family of aircraft with an average age of 20.4 years old. The European Airbus A320 family is the most successful and versatile jetliner family capable of seating 100 to 240 passengers in the widest single-aisle cabin. Given the age of the aircraft and especially the A321-100s, which are almost 26-years-old, we may see some future orders for more fuel-efficient A321neos.
Austrian Airlines Boeing aircraft
Austrian Airlines’ Boeing fleet is comprised of ten long-haul widebody aircraft. The four Boeing 767-300ERs are nearly 20-years-old, and the six larger triple sevens are roughly 21-years-old. Austrian already announced that it is retiring three of its Boeing 767s this year.
In October, Austrian Airlines announced that it would be refurbishing its remaining four younger Boeing 767s and adding more premium economy seats. For now, at least, it would appear that the Boeing 767 could be with Austrian Airlines for a few more years. As for the Boeing 777s, they too are a little long in the tooth and could do with being replaced with newer aircraft.
The question is, what does Lufthansa have in mind for Austrian Airlines? Would they like to see a smaller fleet of narrowbody jets feeding Lufthansa long-haul flights, or do they want to continue flying long-haul with Austrian? I would guess that we will see the older Boeing jets replaced by newer aircraft. As we mentioned earlier, Vienna is the gateway to Central and Eastern Europe. Many Austrian Airlines long-haul flights carry passengers that are connecting to other destinations in Vienna.
Lufthansa has an order with Boeing for 20 787-9 Dreamliners that will start being delivered in 2022, so maybe some of these planes will go to Austrian Airlines.
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Austrian Airlines Embraer 195s
Regarding the Brazilian-built Embraer 195s, they are much younger than the other aircraft with an average age of 10-years-old. With a capacity for 120 passengers in a two-class 2+2 configuration, the Embraer 195s are a passenger favorite thanks to having no middle seat and a spacious feel.
Austrian Airlines needs new planes
Other than the Embraer 195s, all bets are off on when the older planes will be replaced with newer aircraft. At the moment, Austrian Airlines and Lufthansa are trying to recover from the pandemic, but as passenger numbers return, it is something Austrian Airlines needs to think about.
What do you think about Austrian Airlines current fleet? Please tell us your thoughts in the comments.