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AUA: The Boeing 737 MAX could be used as an alternative to the A320

AUA: The Boeing 737 MAX could be used as an alternative to the A320

The Lufthansa Group has ordered up to 100 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft – although it is not yet clear which of several airlines these aircraft will go to. But it was heard some time ago from AUA headquarters at Vienna Airport that AUA CEO Annette Mann had his eye on the Boeing 737 MAX as a replacement for the A320/A321 fleet. The A320 family was introduced to Austria in 1995 and replaces the MD-80, the last examples of which were retired in 2005.

The oldest Airbus at AUA is now almost 30 years old. The “old aircraft” of the fleet is an Airbus A321-100 with registration OE-LBA – by the way, this is the same registration that the Boeing 707 had in 1969, with Captain Charlie Breuer, father of today’s AUA flight captain, and the 787 – flown by instructor Christophe Breuer. On the first trip to New York.

The OE-LBA is the Methuselah of the AUA Airbus fleet. This aircraft was delivered in 1995 – Photo: GF / Austria Wings Media Crew

After this historical journey, back to the present. However, according to some experts, the Boeing 737 is not ideal for the route profile and the type of traffic that AUA carries out as a network carrier – Lufthansa itself no longer operates Boeing 737 aircraft. AUA's route profile was one of the reasons that prompted AUA – the Austrian wings that Reported exclusively at the time as the first Austrian aviation media outlet – to separate from its fleet of Boeing 737s, dating back to the Lauda Air era, in 2012 and completely phase out the aircraft by the spring of 2013. For example, Boeing cannot 737 Loading LD3 cargo containers into the underfloor cargo hold; Luggage must be loaded manually. This in turn means longer periods on the ground between individual rotations or additional loading personnel are needed at airports – which in turn leads to higher personnel costs. In addition, it is highly questionable whether AUA's minimum contact time (MCT) of 25 minutes can be maintained at Vienna Airport with a 737 MAX.

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However, rumors now appear to have been confirmed that AUA will once again become a 737 operator. As AUA CEO Annette Mann told Austrian aviation journalist Kurt Hoffmann, the Boeing 737 MAX is a serious option for the A320's successor.

However, there is still no final decision (it will be made in Frankfurt, not Vienna) and no delivery date for the Boeing 737 MAX. One reason for the preference for the 737 MAX may be due to delivery delays and engine problems with the A320neo, which would be an ideal successor model given Austrian Airlines' current A320/A321 fleet.

(Red GS, KF, Collaboration: P. Huber,