Austrian Airlines To Double Its Flight Schedule By October

Earlier this week, Austrian Airlines announced that it would be doubling its flight schedule by October. The airline is planning a series of new routes and increased capacity as it looks to resume normal operations.

2 Austrian Airlines aircraft
Austrian Airlines will raise its schedule to 40% by October. Photo: Getty Images

The skies around Europe are slowly getting busier, with more and more airlines announcing the resumption of their activities. Earlier this week, Austrian Airlines shared some exciting news of its own. The airline, based in Vienna International Airport, said that it would be operating up to 40% of its schedule come October.

Over the next few months, Austrian Airlines is taking a phased approach to serve increasing travel demand. Publishing its remaining summer schedule, the airline said that it would be able to offer around 30% of its previous year’s schedule by September. After that, it will increase a further 10% of services to reach 40% in October.

Long-haul returns

At present, Austrian Airlines is operating just 20% of its regular scheduled services. The carrier only began operations again on June 15th after it was grounded on March 18th. Needless to say, it’s early days for the airline, yet it’s got impressive plans for the coming months. 

Austrian pilot with US flags
Austrian resumed its long-haul network with a flight to New York. Photo: Austrian Airlines

In August, Austrian Airlines has confirmed that it will only make a small change to its existing schedule. It’s planning to fly to Shanghai once per week as it resumes long-haul flights. The airline had been forced to cut long-haul international routes from its schedule for over 100 days. On July 1st, that changed.

Speaking in a press release at the time, Chief Commercial Officer at Austrian Andreas Otto said,

“Long-haul routes comprise the supreme discipline in Austrian aviation. Therefore, after such a long interruption, we are, of course, especially pleased to be able to offer intercontinental flights again and thereby get our hub at Vienna Airport up and running again.”

Attendant with face mask in Austrian cabin
Austrian Airlines is more than happy to be back in action with a 20% schedule increase in the next three months. Photo: Austrian Airlines

Big plans for September

Despite these changes, September seems like it will be the most significant month for growth. During that month, Austrian will add 10 more routes with a frequency of up to one flight per day. These destinations are:

  • Chişinău, Moldova;
  • Dnipro, Ukraine;
  • Iaşi, Romania;
  • Klagenfurt, Austria;
  • Leipzig, Germany;
  • Lviv, Ukraine;
  • Lyon, France;
  • Nuremberg, Germany;
  • Odesa, Ukraine;
  • Yerevan, Armenia.

In addition, it will increase capacity on many of its existing routes.

Austrian Airlines fleet parked
European flights will be the focus in September. Photo: Austrian Airlines

Austria is slowly reopening its borders

With a 40% capacity in October, Austrian Airlines will have 60 destinations on offer for passengers to choose from. It will be a welcome relief for the airline who said it had been hit hard by the pandemic. On June 3rd, Austrian recorded its figures for the first three months of 2020. It said its revenue had dropped by 24% and it had carried 27% fewer passengers than the same period last year.

In a statement, then-Chief Financial Officer Wolfgang Jani said that the tactic was to try to regain as much revenue as possible when the airline resumed operations. It announced it was expecting “a pandemic-related reduction of the flight offering to about 25-50% of its usual production.” Considering its latest announcement, it appears that the airline is going to be successful at superseding that expectation by the end of 2020.

Austrian Airlines
Profits were down in the first quarter, but increased tourism could improve prospects by year-end. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Challenges still lay ahead for Austrian. Until it can increase its levels of operation, it will not be able to grow, and that’s vital to save it from further losses in the year. That said, international air travel is resuming in Austria. The country has an agreement with selected EU countries exempting them from quarantine on arrival. It means that for some, there is a sense of normalcy, and with any luck, Austrian will also experience that good fortune.

What are your thoughts on this story? Share your views in the comments.