Austrian Airlines has announced today that its flight suspension will now last until the 7th of June. It’s the fifth time that the Lufthansa Group carrier has amended its return to the skies since it grounded its fleet in late March.
Airlines across the globe are already beginning to look towards a firm resumption of service. For example, yesterday, we reported that Russian low-cost carrier Pobeda had planned a 1st of June return to service. Austrian’s customers will have to wait slightly longer, a whole week.
The 7th of June resumption
As things stand, Austrian Airlines will resume services on the 7th of June. Austrian has been clear from the start that it doesn’t wish to return to operations until the demand has recovered. This makes sense. Austrian initially grounded its fleet because it didn’t want to bleed money operating empty flights.
If Austrian does return to the skies before demand meets supply, it will just be experiencing the same problem, albeit with a two months delay. It is for this very reason that the airline has been cautious about its return to flying. So careful that this is the fifth time the date has been moved back.
Will it change again?
It’s impossible to say if it will change again, although it’s entirely possible. Currently, the European Union is targeting a mid-June date for reopening borders. Indeed, the border with Germany is scheduled to open on the 15th of June.
Austrian Airlines’ COO, Andreas Otto, said in an emailed press release,
“When the demand is right and the travel restrictions fall, we want to fly again”
As such, the date for service resumptions of the 7th of June isn’t set in stone. Instead, the Austrian Airline said that June operations are still under review.
What will post-crisis travel look like?
Air travel once the crisis begins to die down is likely to be very different from what travelers have become used to. Many airlines are now requiring passengers to wear masks at all times in the terminal and on flights. This will almost certainly apply to Austrian Airlines as it is a policy set at the Lufthansa Group level.
However, social distancing is unlikely to become a staple of airlines once travel picks up again. The IATA previously said that virus transmission onboard aircraft is incredibly unlikely. Tied with this is the cost of such a policy. Blocking out the middle seat means that ticket prices need to rise to offset lost revenue. Besides, blocking a single seat doesn’t provide the recommended distance between individuals anyway.
Do you think Austrian Airlines will resume flights on the 7th of June, or will the date be pushed back once more? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!