Austrian flag carrier, Austrian Airlines, has said that it expects demand to only return to normal in 2023. This comes after the Austrian Federal Government announced that a return to complete freedom in travel should not be expected soon.
Austrian Airlines is part of the Lufthansa Group, of which its airlines have provided strong support to the government when it comes to repatriation efforts. Indeed, Austrian Airlines has been a part of that, having operated its longest flight ever (between Vienna and Sydney) in preparation for a repatriation operation.
Austrian Airlines says it expects demand to be 25-50% less for the 2020 summer season in comparison to the same period last year.
Alexis von Hoensbroech, CEO of Austrian Airlines said: "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."
Austrian Airlines, over the coming years, will be adapting its flight schedule to meet the lower demand levels, estimating demand to return to "pre-corona levels" by 2023 at the earliest. The carrier predicts a 'significant reduction' in demand for 2021, largely caused by the impact of the coronavirus crisis.
The Lufthansa Group earlier today announced a number of changes to its operations which included the removal of 42 aircraft from the fleet. Austrian Airlines was not immune to the changes and will be intensifying its turnaround plan, similar to Brussels Airlines.
"Our goal remains to maintain as many flight connections and as many jobs as possible", says von Hoensbroech.
Austrian Airlines says it will be reducing its fleet size and continue restructuring. "This realignment includes a reduction in the size of the fleet and consistent restructuring. The extent to which this will take place has not yet been finally defined and also depends on the further development of the crisis," the airline said.
The carrier aims to keep its Vienna hub in operation including its short, medium and long-haul flights.