Lufthansa Group grounds Austrian Airlines
The Lufthansa Group carrier Austrian Airlines will temporarily suspend scheduled flight operations as of Thursday, 19 March 2020. Austrian Airlines is thus reacting to the entry restrictions imposed by many countries in response to the massive spread of the coronavirus.
For the time being, the last flight with flight number OS 066 will land in Vienna from Chicago at 8:20 a.m. on 19 March. Until then, flight operations are to be reduced in a controlled and structured manner in order to bring all passengers and crews home if possible. Initially Austrian Airlines will cancel all flights until March 28th 2020, and passengers who have booked a flight with Austrian Airlines during this period will be re-booked on other airlines if possible.
In addition, Lufthansa Group airlines will further reduce their short- and long-haul schedule. The cancellations, which will be published as early as tomorrow, March 17th, will lead to a sharp decline in long-haul service especially in the Middle East, Africa and Central and South America. Overall, the Lufthansa Group’s seating capacity on long-haul routes will be reduced by up to 90 per cent. A total of 1,300 weekly connections were originally planned for summer 2020.
Within Europe the flight schedule will also be further reduced. Starting tomorrow, around 20 percent of the originally planned seating capacity will still be offered. Originally, some 11,700 weekly short-haul flights were planned for summer 2020 with Lufthansa Group airlines.
The additional cancellations will be published over the next few days and passengers will be informed accordingly.
Carsten Spohr, Chairman of the Executive Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, said: “Now it is no longer about economic issues, but about the responsibility that airlines bear as part of the critical infrastructure in their home countries.” Lufthansa will work with airports and air traffic controllers to develop a coordinated concept for maintaining the critical infrastructure.
The new timetable for all Lufthansa Group airlines will initially be valid until 12 April 2020. Lufthansa Group passengers planning a trip in the coming weeks are advised to check the current status of the respective flight on their airline’s website before departure. If rebooking possibilities exist, the passengers concerned will be proactively informed about alternatives, as long as they have provided their contact details online. In addition, currently changed rebooking conditions apply on a goodwill basis.