Austrian Airlines completes harmonisation on medium-haul fleet
The final Boeing 737 in the Tyrolean Airways fleet celebrated its departure today. The aircraft, which bears the registration OE-LNK, is the last to bear the Lauda Air design.
This means the fleet harmonisation, during which eleven Boeing 737 aircraft have been replaced with seven Airbus A320 over the last seven months, is now complete. Tyrolean Airways now has a unified fleet on its medium-haul routes, consisting of 29 aircraft of the Airbus A320 fleet family.
The company Lauda Air was merged with Austrian Airlines already last year. In the private travel segment, the power of the Austrian brand has been used to greater effect both nationally and internationally since the beginning of this year, with the launch of the ‘my Holiday’ product.
“This is an important milestone for our future competitiveness,” declared Austrian CEO Jaan Albrecht. “The fleet harmonisation is an essential building block in the restructuring programme of the Austrian Airlines Group.” Thanks to the unified fleet on medium-haul routes, Tyrolean Airways can enhance a number of essential synergies. Double costs for maintenance and spare parts are no longer necessary, for example, training for pilots can be standardised, and the aircraft can be deployed more productively in the network schedule. This all results in savings of around 17 million euros.
There were a variety of different reasons for the decision to opt for Airbus on medium-haul during the fleet harmonisation. The Austrian Airlines Group had twice as many Airbus A320 in its fleet as it did Boeing 737. This meant the phasing out of the Boeing 737 involved lower costs, because fewer pilots and technicians needed to be retrained.
In addition to this, the Austrian Airlines Group already had larger sub-fleets within the Airbus A320 fleet, which could be operated more efficiently than the Boeing 737 sub-fleets. As well as this, the Austrian Airlines Group can benefit more from synergies within the Lufthansa Group by using the A320 on its medium-haul routes.
The first Boeing 737-200, registration OE-ILE, took to the air for Lauda Air in the autumn on 1985. In the years that followed, Lauda Air incorporated a succession of Boeing 737 aircraft into its fleet, but each in different versions. After the takeover of Lauda Air, Austrian Airlines had a total of eleven Boeing 737 “Next Generation” and one Boeing 737-400 “Classic” in its fleet. The final Boeing 737-400 “Classic” was phased out of the fleet in 2004.
The Boeing 737 was mainly used to carry charter traffic at Lauda Air and Austrian. Since the spring of 2010, it has also been used on scheduled routes of Austrian Airlines. To make this possible, the Boeing 737 was repainted in the Austrian colours. Just one Boeing 737-800, bearing the registration OE-LNK, continued to fly under the Lauda Air colours, to enable the company to retain its AOC, or ‘Air Operator Certificate’.
The Boeing 737 “Next Generation” used at Lauda Air and Austrian Airlines flew over 300,000 flight hours in total between 1998 and 2013. The Boeing 737 was used for around 8 flight hours every day in the Austrian Airlines Group. That corresponds to 4.5 landings a day.
Before the fleet harmonisation, the Austrian Airlines Group had seven Boeing 737-800, two Boeing 737-600 and two Boeing 737-700 in its fleet.