Austrian Airlines Postpones Service Resumption Until June

Austrian Airlines has announced that it now doesn’t intend to resume services until June. The Austrian flag carrier hasn’t operated any scheduled services in over a month due to the current situation.

Austrian Airlines, Flight Suspension, June
Austrian Airlines has once again extended its flight suspension. Photo: Florian Schmidt via Austrian Airlines

Austrian Airlines grounded its scheduled operations from the 18th of March. What had initially been planned as a 10-day grounding has since become 10-weeks. However, while we’re now six weeks into the flight suspension, it could be extended once more. Additionally, when the crisis is over, the airline will return smaller as some older aircraft are retired.

No flights until June

According to the latest announcement from the Austrian flag carrier, Austrian Airlines won’t return to the skies until at least the 1st of June. The airline had initially suspended for ten days from the 18th of March until the 28th of March. Of course, it would later become clear that the crisis would be much worse than anybody had imagined.

First, the flight suspension was extended until the 19th of April. This then became the 3rd of May. Shortly after that, the airline continued this grounding until the 17th of May. However, as of today, the airline won’t resume flights until the 1st of June. Of course, this date could slip back once more as it has already four times before.

Austrian Airlines, Flight Suspension, June
Most of the airline’s aircraft have been parked up for over a month. Photo: Florian Schmidt via Austrian Airlines

In a written statement, Austrian Airlines’ Chief Commercial Officer Andreas Otto said:

“Unlike some competitors, we want to avoid empty flights at all costs. We will only take off when a new start makes sense for Austrian Airlines and when the ease of travel restrictions makes this possible”

Austrian 2.0

While the airline is currently not operating any scheduled flights, it is still flying. The airline took part in the Lufthansa Group’s mammoth repatriation efforts. Indeed, as of the 17th of April, the airline had repatriated 7,417 passengers from 36 destinations on 43 flights. Additionally, like many of its Lufthansa Group cousins, Austrian Airlines has been converting aircraft into makeshift freighters.

Photo: Florian Scmidt via Austrian Airlines
The flight extension could potentially be further extended. Photo: Florian Schmidt via Austrian Airlines

However, when the red-white-red airline does return to the skies, it will be a smaller operation. The airline’s CEO was one of the first to publicly state that they expected passenger demand to take years to recover. As a result, several aircraft will be retired from the fleet.

This includes some of the oldest aircraft in the entire Lufthansa Group, three Boeing 767s. It’s likely that their retirement was already planned, given their age. However, like many other aircraft, perhaps they won’t be needed again before their scheduled departure from the fleet. Additionally, the airline’s entire fleet of seven Airbus A319 aircraft and 18 of its Dash turboprops will be retired early.

Do you think Austrian will resume operations at the start of June, or will the date get pushed again? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!