The aircraft travels on Austrian Airlines (AUA) very short routes for a maximum of 1 hour and 15 minutes. In addition to the Austrian capitals Graz and Klagenfurt, flights also fly to Belgrade (Serbia), Poland (Italy), Kosice (Slovakia), Leipzig (Germany), Warsaw (Poland) and Zagreb (Croatia). The smallest aircraft in the AUA fleet is used, the 120-seat Embraer 195. However, according to the airline, these routes represent an economic challenge.
“In some regional routes, demand has not returned to its full extent after the pandemic,” explains AUA board member Michael Trestle. This is also because business travel in particular is still lagging behind. However, Austrian Airlines plans to fly to these eight destinations from Schwychat in the upcoming summer flight schedule, which takes effect at the end of March. However, Lufthansa's local branch is largely dependent on a new partner from Sweden.
AUA leases aircraft and crew
Specifically, a so-called “wet lease cooperation” was concluded with the regional airline Braathens. This means that AUA leases the company's aircraft and crew from Stockholm and uses them on these eight routes. Austrian Airlines provides food only. The two weekly flights to Klagenfurt, Kosice and Leipzig are fully operated by Braathens. The other destinations are shared between AUA and the Swedish partner.
“In order to be able to connect these roads to our hub in Vienna in the future, we need adapted capacity structures,” explains Trestle. Braathens will only use 72-seat helicopters from manufacturer ATR. This is great because AUA retired the last helicopter from its fleet just two years ago. On 31 May 2021, the last Dash-8 took off for Innsbruck, and the Dash fleet was replaced by the larger Embraer 195.
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