Austrian Airlines to cut 1,000 jobs by mid-2010


VIENNA — Austrian Airlines, the ailing carrier due to be taken over by Germany’s Lufthansa AG, said Thursday it will cut about 1,000 jobs by mid-2010 as part of an effort to boost its competitiveness.

In a statement, the airline said the downsizing would happen in stages and include layoffs. Some positions would be eliminated through outplacements or by not refilling vacancies, it said.

“Although the aim will be to design the reduction in staff numbers to be as socially responsible as possible, there will also be layoffs,” the statement said.

Austrian is battling insolvency as it prepares to be taken over by Lufthansa.

On Wednesday, European Union regulators launched an investigation into Lufthansa AG’s bid for Austrian, saying the deal could reduce choice and hike fares for passengers on some routes.

The European Commission said it had “serious doubts” that the takeover could go ahead without the airlines making some changes to eliminate antitrust concerns.

Regulators can now take an extra 90 days to examine the deal. Lufthansa has the right to pull out of the takeover if EU approval doesn’t come through by July 31.