EUROPE: Austrian hit by capacity cuts

One moment Austrian Airlines’cargo department was boasting of itsexcellent links between Asia and thegrowing market of Eastern Europe.The next moment, its parent carrierannounced that the Asian half of thatequation is to be severely curtailed. From this year, a whole swathe oflong-haul routes have been binnedat the carrier, which is retiring theremaining four A330 aircraft from […]


One moment Austrian Airlines’cargo department was boasting of itsexcellent links between Asia and thegrowing market of Eastern Europe.The next moment, its parent carrierannounced that the Asian half of thatequation is to be severely curtailed.

From this year, a whole swathe oflong-haul routes have been binnedat the carrier, which is retiring theremaining four A330 aircraft from itsfleet. At the same time the carrier willadd a fourth and final 777, and, alongwith six 767s, these aircraft will be thewhole of its long-haul fleet.

The move is a necessary one: sinceits merger with Lauda Air in 2000, Austrianhas had a famously diverse fleet.But the decision also marks a retrenchmentfrom the Asian market.

The casualties included flights toSydney and Melbourne, the only directflights to Australia from continentalEurope, and when these went in March2007, they took stops in Singapore andKuala Lumpur with them.

January 2007 also saw the ending ofservices to Shanghai, though Austrianwill continue to serve Beijing. Otherwise,its Asian network will consist ofsix weekly flights to Tokyo and dailyflights to Bangkok, which will at leastbe upgraded to a cargo-friendly 777.

Austrian will also continue to serveMumbai five times a week and Delhidaily, but its route to Kathmandu isbeing axed from May, and plans toserve Chennai and Karachi have beenshelved. April will also see services toPhuket, Mauritius, Colombo and Maleended.