· OE-LZD is the first of the additional A320s to replace the turboprops
· Austrian bundles fleet strength at Vienna hub
Austrian Airlines' 37th Airbus A320 departed today at 12:28 p.m. (local time) for its maiden flight to London Heathrow under flight number OS 461. Around two hours later it landed at its destination at 13:23 p.m. The jet with the registration OE-LZD is the first additional Airbus aircraft, which Austrian Airlines will phase-in during the next few years. The jets will successively replace the Dash 8-400 turboprop aircraft. In the course of fleet harmonisation, Austrian will transfer the decentralised flights from the federal states to Germany to the Lufthansa Group and bundle its fleet strength at the Vienna hub in order to better fend off the approach of low-cost carriers.
The OE-LZD was certified for the first time in October 2012 and is equipped with CFM CFM56-5B4/3 engines. Lessor Aviation Capital Group transferred the aircraft from Jacksonville to Vienna on October 7, 2019. The takeover check was carried out in Jacksonville. In Vienna, smaller cabin conversions have been carried out since arrival and the emergency equipment has been upgraded to Austrian standard. In a second conversion phase, scheduled for mid-2020, the aircraft will be equipped with the Lufthansa Group standard cabin and the new Geven seat.
"We are gradually replacing our turboprop fleet with more efficient A320 aircraft. At the Vienna hub we are pooling our strengths and creating lower unit costs with the larger aircraft", says Project Lead Marlis Brichta, explaining the decision. "With the new Lufthansa Group standard cabin we will also be able to offer our passengers more comfort on short- and medium-haul flights in the future“, she adds.
Details on fleet restructuring
The second additional Airbus to be used by Austrian has already landed in Vienna and is scheduled to take off for its maiden flight in December. The transfer of the other two jets is to follow in the next few weeks. The first four jets previously flew at Avianca Brasil. Two more jets, which previously flew at Juneyao, are to be received in Vienna at the beginning of 2020.
Two of the 18 Dash turboprops have already left the Austrian fleet, another aircraft will follow this year. The aircraft will then gradually leave the Austrian fleet by 2021.