Austrian Airlines has announced that it will finally return to the skies from June 15th. The airline will focus on using smaller aircraft initially while planning to fly to almost 40 destinations by the end of June.
Austrian Airlines initially suspended operations for ten days from mid-March. The grounding came as a result of falling demand and increasing travel bans. Since then, the grounding has been extended six different times to last around three months. The carrier will initially focus on shorter routes for the time being.
What’s the plan?
Austrian Airlines is currently planning to relaunch services with its smaller Dash 8 and Embraer 195 aircraft. These are easier to fill with lower demand as there are fewer seats. The Austrian carrier’s first scheduled flights since March will operate to Brussels, London, and Paris.
However, the resumption of services will extend far beyond these three destinations. In the first week, the airline will fly to 27 different cities, including Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Stockholm, and Tel Aviv.
Tel Aviv was one of the first destinations outside of China that the Lufthansa Group ceased operations to. This was given Israel’s then ban on those traveling from Germany and neighboring states from entering the country. Since then, a total ban on passenger flights to the Israeli airport was enacted.
In the first two weeks of operations, the airline has plans to fly to 37 destinations. According to the airline, additional destinations will be added for July, although the schedule is still being built up.
Commenting on the resumption, in a press release seen by Simple Flying, the airline’s CCO, Andreas Otto, said,
“We all are pleased that Austrian Airlines is finally flying again. I would like to thank our customers for their patience and understanding. We will also resume long-haul flight service as soon as we have sufficient feeder traffic on short- and medium-haul routes. This could already be the case in July”
No distancing, masks mandatory
The social distancing policy for Lufthansa Group airlines has been set at the group level. As such, on Austrian, Lufthansa, Eurowings, and others, there will be no social distancing on flights. This is in line with IATA recommendations.
Instead, Austrian will require passengers to bring their face covering, and wear it at all times in Vienna airport and onboard flights. Austrian will try and spread passengers through an aircraft where possible. However, it will prioritize filling the plane so that no passenger is denied a seat.
As would be expected, in line with many other airlines, Austrian Airlines will implement an enhanced cleaning program onboard all of its flights, focusing on areas that are frequently touched, such as the tray tables.
Would you fly with Austrian Airlines in its first weeks of operations? Let us know why and where in the comments!