The Lufthansa subsidiary wants to get out of the Corona low with an adapted strategy. To do this, Austrian Airlines has to cut staff, downsize the fleet and hope for the digital green passport. </p><div> <p>The mother gave the slogan: leaner - faster - more sustainable. This is how Lufthansa wants to fly out of the crisis. The subsidiary Austrian Airlines is adding something to it. “We also want to become more focused and profitable,” says the new Chief Sales Officer Michael Trestl. A “well-filled account balance and a liquidity buffer” are a good starting point for this, adds CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech.
What does this strategy mean in detail? It should gradually stabilize Austrian Airlines, said von Hoensbroech on Thursday (March 4) at the online press conference on the 2020 financial year, which turned out to be very bad with an operating loss of 379 million euros. This includes an optimally dimensioned fleet. So far, it has been said that this will be reduced to 60 aircraft. Depending on the development of demand, other planes could also be shut down and, in an emergency, even handed over, the AUA management announced.
Airbus A319 to Lufthansa Cityline
Austrian Airlines is currently selling the seven Airbus A319s. You could wander to Lufthansa Cityline, which is currently building an A319 fleet, according to von Hoensbroech. The proceeds from the aircraft sales flow directly into the repayment of the aid loans received, he said. The company also relied on a flexible network, according to Trestl, which is constantly being adapted to requirements and possibilities. A new workplace concept will also be implemented, as the headquarters are currently being massively shrunk. And savings should be made consistently.
As announced, the Austrian national airline is also putting the catering on a new footing. Under the name Austrian Melangerie, there will only be water and a small gift for free on short and medium-haul flights from the summer flight schedule at the end of March. For a fee, “Austrian specialties are offered by well-known partners”, says Trestl. A lot is possible, from Sachertorte to Mannerschnitt. The Austrian Airlines Board of Management did not want to name names, nor did the new catering partner. The catering for business class and economy on long-haul flights remains unchanged.
Capacity in summer smaller than planned
In the group, Austrian Airlines was sometimes no longer traded as a premium carrier, but together with Brussels Airlines as a value carrier. Trestl says: “No, that’s not true, the premium strategy will continue to support us in the future. Austrian Melangerie also plays a role ». Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr added almost diplomatically: “For us, premium brands are those that also offer first class. Like Lufthansa and Swiss. But the differentiation is difficult because we offer premium everywhere, regardless of whether there is first class or not. ”
Austrian Airlines currently flies with 15 percent of its pre-crisis capacity. Instead of 60 percent, as originally expected according to the business plan. In the summer it should go to 40 to 50 percent. 70 percent should have been according to the plan.
“We need this”
As in all of aviation, this depends on whether there is a digital green passport, whether it is internationally recognized and thus also the travel restrictions fall. “We need that,” says von Hoensbroech. “But not just us, but the entire tourism industry.”