Austrian Airlines Extends Temporary Cessation of Flight Operations

Austrian Airlines Boeing 777-200
Boeing 777-200 | Austrian Airlines

The worldwide entry bans imposed as a consequence of the coronavirus have not been relaxed and there is still little demand for air travel. For this reason, Austrian Airlines will cease all regular flight operations until April 19, 2020.

Today, two Boeing 777 aircraft will fly to Punta Cana, Havana and Mexico City on behalf of the Austrian Federal Ministry of European and International Affairs to bring home Austrians stranded abroad.    

Austrian Airlines originally announced a temporary cessation of its scheduled air traffic until March 28, 2020. Passengers booked on flights during this period will be rebooked on other airlines if possible.

“We kindly ask our passengers for their patience in light of the waiting times in processing their inquiries. I ensure everyone involved that our service employees will handle the rebooking of flights and requests as quickly as possible”, states Austrian Airlines CCO Andreas Otto. 

Austrian Airlines has reached an agreement with the Works Council, trade union and the Federal Economic Chamber on a short time working model. The country’s red-white-red flag carrier had previously submitted an application to the Austrian Public Employment Service (AMS) for short-time work on March 6, 2020. 

The cornerstones of the agreement are as follows: 

The “corona short-time working” model stipulates a reduction of working time down to a minimum of 10 percent while ensuring payment of up to 90 percent of employee salaries. The difference will be covered by AMS funding or by Austrian Airlines. The airline originally concluded this agreement for a period of one month beginning on March 20, 2020, including a months-long extension option depending on the further development of the situation. The maximum possible duration of short-time work is six months.

In principle, all executives have also been put on short-time working. However, the Management Board has the possibility to exempt employees from short-time working for the reason of operational requirements. In this case it is agreed that a salary waiver will take effect.

“I would like to thank the AMS for its quick and pragmatic assistance as well as the social partners for their good cooperation during the negotiations on short-time work”, says Austrian Airlines CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech. “This has significantly reduced the burden on Austrian Airlines for the time being. Now we are looking ahead and preparing to ramp up flight operations as soon as possible after the coronavirus-related standstill”, he adds.

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