Tyrolean Technik, a fully-owned subsidiary of Austrian Airlines, will downsize its maintenance and repair operations in Innsbruck.
The line maintenance of aircraft will continue to be carried out locally. However, the so-called heavy or base maintenance for Dash 8 propeller planes will take place at a different location for cost reasons. The underlying reasons for the decision are the declining level of business and high location costs. 80 employees out of the total staff of 300 people will be affected. The customer-oriented service units of Austrian Airlines at Innsbruck Airport will not be impacted.
“Due to increasing passenger volumes, the deployment of this very special and small type of aircraft has been on the decline for years. This situation is complemented by the decreasing number of maintenance orders and uncertainties in the field of heavy maintenance most recently triggered by the bankruptcy of Air Berlin”, says Wolfgang Henle, Co-Managing Director of Tyrolean Technik. Air Berlin operated Dash 8 aircraft and was one of the biggest customers at the Innsbruck site. Henle himself is a longstanding Dash 8 pilot. His assignments take him much less frequently to Innsbruck. This is because larger types of aircraft are now being deployed for the most part in Tyrol.
“We assessed the situation for a long time. The bottom line is that we cannot bear the millions in additional costs for heavy maintenance. We decided to downsize operations in Innsbruck”, states Austrian Airlines CEO Kay Kratky. The employees were informed of the decision today at an employee meeting. “We have offered a job in Vienna to all affected employees. Naturally we are aware of the fact that the situation itself is a difficult one, as is the prospect for people to relocate.” Employees who are not able to accept the job offer will be offered a social plan as an alternative. The Public Employment Service Austria has already been informed as a precautionary measure.
“We would like to give our colleagues time to calmly reflect upon the situation with their families and friends”, Austrian Airlines CEO Kratky adds.
Counselling discussions with the affected employees are planned during the days and weeks ahead. According to the planned timetable, heavy maintenance operations in Innsbruck will be terminated at the end of the first half of the year. The 30 most experienced employees will continue to be employed at the Innsbruck facility and will work in the existing hangar. They will subsequently be directly employed by Austrian Airlines pending approval by the Austrian Airlines Supervisory Board. In the future, the technicians should also be able to carry out maintenance and repair work on other types of aircraft deployed by Austrian Airlines, for example the Airbus A320 or Embraer 195. Separate trainings are planned. The integration of Tyrolean Technik in Austrian Airlines is scheduled to take place effective July 1, 2018.
Line maintenance is responsible for unforeseen repairs in normal operations, the heavy or base maintenance is in charge of carrying out routine inspections such as the so-called “C checks”. The entire interior of the aircraft is removed during a C check and the entire aircraft is carefully inspected for potential corrosion. The aircraft is also refreshed on the outside, whereas the used seat covers are replaced and the aircraft cabin is brought up to the latest standards. Frequently the aircraft is repainted. Unfortunately, this service cannot be offered in Innsbruck. A C check generally takes place every 15 to 18 months and requires the aircraft to remain in the hangar for three to four weeks.
300 employees out of the total workforce of 6,900 people in the Austrian Airlines Group are based at the Innsbruck facility. About 110 employees are employed by Tyrolean Technik, whereas the remaining staff is involved in the service area, station or flight operations.