Friday, 10 April 2020

Austrian Airlines looking ahead......pre-corona travel demand won't return until 2023 says Austrian Airlines

Ony last week Austrian Airlines, part of the Lufthansa Group of airlines extended its flight suspension until 3rd May. However,  it is highly expected that this date will also need to be extended as the coronavirus COVID-19 crisis looks set to worsen in many destinations before it gets better.  The Austrian Federal Government also announced in the last few days that complete freedom to travel cannot be expected to come back soon.

Austrian Airlines therefore currently assumes that this summers demand for travel will be about 25-50% of the demand of last summer and it won't see demand return to pre-corona levels until 2023 at the earliest!  Accordingly, the red-white-red Vienna based airline is in the process of adapting to a new way of working to meet the changing demands.

Austrian Airlines CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech commented: "The world we will be flying into will be a different one. People will travel again, but the economy, tourism and passenger needs will have changed after the Corona crisis. We will align our company to master this challenge."

The carrier is reducing its fleet size and restructuring the firm, the extent to which this will take place has not yet been finally defined and also depends on the further development of the crisis. "Our goal remains to maintain as many flight connections and as many jobs as possible", says the Austrian CEO.

Austrian Airlines intends to continue operating the Vienna hub with its short, medium and long-haul routes: "We will do whatever is necessary to achieve this goal. That's why the motto we set at the beginning of the crisis remains valid: The current shutdown is not a ‘Good Bye’ but a ‘See you later’”, adds CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech.

The approximately 7,000 employees are currently on short-time work but their future is less certain,  it is fair to say that there will be significant job losses in the coming weeks and months.

Part of the changes and restructuring will occur at board level and already there has been several personnel changes of the supervisory boards of Lufthansa Group airlines. The Lufthansa Executive Board members Harry Hohmeister and Michael Niggeman have resigned from their positions on the Supervisory Board of Austrian Airlines AG.

In the Extraordinary General Meeting held on April 2, 2020, Christina Foerster was appointed to the Supervisory Board. Subsequently, within the context of a circulation procedure, she was elected to serve as Chairwoman of the Supervisory Board of Austrian Airlines and thus as the successor to Harry Hohmeister. On April 7, 2020, Detlef Kayser was appointed to replace Michael Niggemann as Vice Chairman of the Supervisory Board.

In addition to the new members Christina Foerster and Detlef Kayser, Karin Exner-Wöhrer and Veit Schmid-Schmidsfelden will continue to serve on the Supervisory Board as shareholder representatives. The employee representatives appointed by the works councils are René Pfister (since March 16, 2020) and Rainer Stratberger.

Detlef Kayser has been a Member of the Executive Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG since January 1, 2019, with responsibility for the Airline Resources & Operations Standards business area.

Mr. Kayser, who holds a doctorate in aerospace engineering, joined the Lufthansa Group in January 2016. Since then, he has held the position of Executive Vice President Strategy and Fleet, with overall responsibility for the commercial and technical fleet management of the Lufthansa Group, group-wide organization and processes as well as corporate governance and corporate investment management. Detlef Kayser previously held various positions at the consulting company McKinsey, most recently as Director of its Hamburg office.

News for passengers......

Expansion of rebooking options and waiver policy
Austrian Airlines is giving you time to reconsider your options. You may wish to travel at a later date now, for instance, or think a different destination might be more suitable. Please take advantage of the fact that you don’t need to reach a decision on this right away. Instead, reassess your travel needs once the situation has calmed down again. As well as this, we’re offering you extended, flexible rebooking options once again.

Flight tickets can be suspended up to 31 August; for those rebooking up to 31 December 2020, an extra EUR 50 in ticket value
Tickets with a travel date up to 30 April 2021, which were or are booked up to 19 April 2020, can be suspended. This means you have until 31 August 2020 to rebook to a new travel date (start of the new journey up to 30 April 2021), or to another destination. If you rebook onto a flight by 31 December 2020, then you will receive an extra EUR 50 in ticket value.
If the rebooked fare is more expensive due to a change of destination (rebooking from short- to long-haul), a change of travel class or similar, then a surcharge may be necessary despite the discount.
Our entire flight offer from autumn 2020 until spring 2021 can be booked on or through your travel agency.

Flexibility for new bookings
Booking cheaply while remaining flexible – in an effort to ensure both these objectives are possible for you, we are reorganising our fare structure. All fares and ticket prices are rebookable with immediate effect – including the Light Fare without Hand Luggage, for example. This will apply worldwide, to new bookings on short-, medium- and long-haul routes.

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