Austrian Airlines Cuts European Network By 20%

The continued spread of novel coronavirus – also known as COVID-19 has forced Austrian Airlines to make further reductions to its services. The cuts will impact 20% of all flights in the carrier’s entire European network during the month of March.

Austrian Airlines Tails
Several of Austrian Airline’s aircraft will not fly the skies this month due to a drop in demand. Photo: Austrian Airlines via Flickr

Further reductions

Austrian previously announced the reduction of 40% of its Italian services in March and April, along with further cuts to Tehran and China. All of these destinations have had rapid spikes in coronavirus cases over the last few months.

Now, according to a press release, more flights across the European continent will be reduced between March 8th and 28th. Moreover, twelve of the operator’s short-haul and medium-haul aircraft will remain on the ground.

Austrian Airlines CCO Andreas Otto commented on the schedule amendments. He admits that his firm is suffering because of the changes but understands that these steps need to be taken.

“We are reacting to the current developments surrounding the COVID-19 virus by further flight schedule thinning. It is painful, but unfortunately necessary, to reduce our flight schedule by about 20 percent in March,” Otto said, as per the press release.

“We are monitoring the situation very closely and are preparing to take further measures.”

Austrian Airlines Airbus Airport
Austrian Airlines is one of the many subsidiaries of aviation powerhouse Lufthansa Group. Photo: Lufthansa Group

Industry concerns

Fellow European carrier Brussels Airlines had also cut its frequencies by just over 20% this week. This is a trend that is growing due to a lack of demand in an unpredictable climate. Several airlines are cutting flights amid the outbreak, which could have a huge impact within the market.

According to the statistic site Worldometer, Austria has had over 100 confirmed cases of coronavirus. However, it’s not just the occurrences within the country that is impacting its flag carrier’s operations.

Over 105,000 cases have been confirmed worldwide and the virus is continuing to spread by the day throughout Europe. As of today, around 43,000 infections are active and over half of them are outside of China (whose infection rate seems to be on the decline). While authorities are still deciding the best course of action to handle the outbreak, several passengers have been reluctant to fly.

Sheremetyevo Airport Coronavirus
The spread of novel coronavirus has impacted the aviation industry across the globe. Photo: Getty Images

Official comment

Simple Flying reached out to Austrian Airlines for comment on the European flights that are being cut. A spokesperson for the company shared that the reductions were done through Austrian’s continental flight program, which includes both western and eastern routes across the continent. All destinations are still part of the operator’s flight schedule but the services are being thinned.

The airline is also planning to carry out further reductions by up to 50 percent. However, it is currently figuring out which destinations will be impacted.

What are your thoughts on airlines continuing to cut flights amid the coronavirus outbreak? Are you one of the passengers impacted by the cancellations? Let us know what you think of the situation in the comment section.