The Supervisory Board of Lufthansa AG has agreed to invest over EUR100 million (USD112 million) into its Austrian Airlines subsidiary as part of its regional and intercontinental expansion strategy, known as “Next Level Austrian”.
Under the plan, Austrian will lease two A320-200s from Lufthansa this year to boost capacity on its Innsbruck-Frankfurt, Salzburg-Frankfurt, Graz-Frankfurt, and Vienna-Munich routes. It is recalled that five A320-200s will also be wet-leased from Air Berlin from late March of next year.
Austrian Airlines currently operates twenty-nine A320 family aircraft including seven A319-100s, sixteen A320-200s, and six A321-100/-200s.
Turning to widebody capacity, Austrian will also source an additional ex-AeroMéxico B777-200(ER) from AerCap on an eight-year contract. The widebody jet will be deployed for the 2018 summer season.
Aside from capacity expansion, the Lufthansa board also approved the roll-out of a Premium Economy Class product across Austrian’s widebody fleet.
Austrian’s widebody fleet of six B767-300(ER)s and five B777-200(ER)s (six including the new AerCap lease) will be refitted during winter 2017/18 in time for the start of the 2018 summer season. A total of eighteen Premium Eco seats will be installed on B767 jets and twenty-four Premium Eco seats on B777 aircraft at the expense of Business and Economy Class.
The B767 fleet’s total seating capacity will be reduced by three or fourteen seats to 211, while the number of seats on the B777 jets will decline from 308 to 302.
Austrian is expected to announce additional features to its Next Level Austrian plan in due course.
“Key issues will include the expansion of the long-haul network, investments in a new aircraft technology and upcoming cooperation with system partners,” it said.