Austrian Airlines today bid farewell to its first Boeing 767. The aircraft, registered as OE-LAT, is heading to its new owners, MonoCoque Diversified Interests. The aircraft was the oldest widebody in the Lufthansa Group fleet before its departure at almost 30 years old.
The pandemic has caused a bit of a shift in the world’s aircraft fleet. Significantly impacted have been the older widebody aircraft – especially those with four engines. However, some airlines have also been retiring their older twinjet aircraft, given the downsizing opportunity presented by an unprecedented drop in demand for air travel.
Bye Bye OE-LAT
This morning Austrian Airlines bid ‘tschau’ (an Austrian word for farewell) to its oldest aircraft, a Boeing 767 registered OE-LAT. According to data from Planespotters.net, the aircraft was initially delivered to the Austrian airline 14 years ago in March 2007. Before this, the aircraft was operated by Lauda Air, having been delivered to Martinair Holland in October 1991.
The airline adds that the aircraft has completed 133,000 flight hours since being delivered, equating to 15 years in the air. Additionally, the plane has conducted some 19,000 take-offs and landings in its career. Austrian Airlines grounded the aircraft from April to August. However, since September, it has been back in operation, completing 75.4 flight hours in January alone.
Austrian Airlines didn’t allow the aircraft’s departure from the fleet to go unnoticed. The crew wrote farewell messages on the aircraft’s main landing gear door before departure.
The final flights of OE-LAT
According to Radarbox.com, the aircraft departed from Vienna International Airport (VIE) at 07:55 this morning. At the time of writing, the aircraft had flown over Czechia, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, The United Kingdom, and Ireland, having just left the land for its transatlantic voyage as OS1411.
The flight will touch down in Bangor, Maine, later today, where the aircraft and crew will clear customs formalities. Following the stop-off in Maine, the aircraft will continue onto Pinal Airpark in Arizona as OS 1413. Here, the aircraft will be handed over to its new owners, MonoCoque Diversified Interests.
Not going to waste away
It seems as though the Boeing 767 has some future ahead of it yet, rather than becoming a bank of spare parts in the desert. When Austrian Airlines revealed the sale to MDI last month, the company’s manager Mary Alice Keyes said,
“MDI is excited to continue the growth of its passenger and cargo aviation portfolio with the addition of three 767-300ERs”
The aircraft will be followed by its sister OE-LAX in May. It is unclear when the last of the three Boeing 767s will fly out to the US, but we know it will be later this year. Austrian initially announced the departure of the aircraft almost a year ago. Austrian Airlines will be left with three younger 767s.
What do you make of the departure of Austrian Airlines’ first Boeing 767? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!