On the 30th of September, 1957, Austrian Airlines was founded in Vienna, commencing its flying operations on 31 March 1958 with four Vickers Viscount 779 planes on the Vienna –London route.
In April, 1969, Austrian Airlines started its transatlantic flights, serving the Vienna – New York route in co-operation with Sabena.
Austrian Airlines grew steadily until 2000, when it became a member of the Star Alliance.
Same year, Austrian Airlines acquired Lauda Air, a company that started back in 1979 with charter flights on two small Fokker 27 planes.
In 2001, Austrian Airlines took over Tyrolean Airways, a small airline founded in April 1980, when it started flying from Innsbruck to Vienna and Zurich with a Dash 7.
In 2004, Austrian Airlines Group was the market leader in Central and Eastern Europe with 38 destinations in this area.
In 2006, the first Boeing 777 equipped with the new Austrian Business Class sleeper seats took off.
In March, 2007, Austrian Airlines’ longest flights, the Vienna-Singapore-Melbourne and Vienna-Kuala Lumpur-Sydney route, were terminated.
In 2008, as worldwide second biggest airline concerning numbers of destinations in Russian-traffic, Austrian strengthened its position with the announcement of new flights to Sochi and Nizhniy Novgorod.
Since September 2009, Austrian Airlines was merged into Lufthansa’s operations.
In 2011, Austrian completed the conversion of its short-haul and medium-haul fleet, refitting a total of 32 aircraft (A320 family and Boeing 737) with the new interior design and modern leather seats.
In 2012, with the landing of the first new Airbus A320 in Vienna started of the harmonization of the medium-haul fleet.
In October, 2012, Austrian Airlines launched its new long-haul cabin with full-flat Business Class seats.
In 2013, the conversion of the long-haul fleet (Boeing 777 and 767) was completed, offering a new visual (as Austrian Airlines reworks the color concept of its cabins) for the entire interior design and the highest degree of travel comfort: new, modern Economy Class seats, advanced onboard entertainment system, full-flat seats in Business Class.
From March, 2014, a new flight shuttle service between Vienna and Frankfurt, with flights departing on an hourly basis during the day, will be jointly provided by Austrian Airlines and Lufthansa.
In July 2014, Austrian Airlines began flight service with Boeing 767 aircraft to Newark, a new long-haul destination in the US. Austrian Airlines continues to offer daily flights to the other North American destinations: JFK, Chicago, Washington, and Toronto, Canada.
In October 2014, it was announced that, by 31 March 2015, Tyrolean’s flight operations and staff would be reintegrated into Austrian Airlines. Before the merger, Austrian announced an overhauled concept, called “myAustrian”, that includes a new corporate design, a revised aircraft livery, and a number of new routes.
In June 2015, the purchase of 17 Embraer 195 was approved by the Supervisory Board of Austrian Airlines. The nearly-new Embraer aircraft, coming from Lufthansa CityLine, replaced the ageing Fokker 70 and 100 aircraft. The first Embraer flight took off in January 2016. By August 2017, the Embraer fleet was complete, and the last four Fokker 100 still in operation will be delivered to Alliance Aviation of Australia until December 2017.
In 2016, large-scale investments in the Austrian Airlines fleet were approved to serve as the basis for the first strategy package entitled “Next Level Austrian“. Two Airbus A320 jets were leased from the Lufthansa Group, whereas one Boeing 777 aircraft expected to be added to the long-haul fleet by the summer of 2018 will be leased from the Irish aircraft lessor AerCap. The airline also announced that, as of mid-December 2016, it will offer Internet on board and will introduce Premium Economy on all long-haul flights as of 2018. Austrian Airlines also revised its new branding introduced in spring 2015 by dropping the phrase “my” ahead of Austrian.
In spring 2017, based on a wet lease agreement with airberlin, five Airbus A320 aircraft, including pilots and flight attendants, were transferred and successively integrated into the Austrian Airlines fleet. The five aircraft using the Austrian Airlines design are operated by airberlin, including airberlin crew in airberlin uniforms.
In 2018, Austrian Airlines further developed its branding and services, introducing the Economy Light airfare on its North American routes and offering Premium Economy services on all its long-haul flights.
In January 2019, Austrian Airlines presented #DriveTo25, its new strategy which is aiming to restructure the fleet and network. Over the next few years, Austrian Airlines will withdraw from service 18 Bombardier Q400 aircraft and replace them with Airbus A320 aircraft. At the same time, Austrian Airlines will focus its business on the Vienna hub: flight offers from Vienna will be increased by over 10%, all decentralized crew bases will be relocated to Vienna, and routes that do not pass through Vienna International Airport will be transferred to Lufthansa or Eurowings.
In January 2020, Austrian Airlines announced that, with 79% on-time arrivals, it ranked 10th among the Top 10 most punctual Airlines in Europe in the 2019 On-Time Performance Review by Cirium, a company that provides data and analytics products to the travel industry.
In 2020, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, Austrian Airlines suspended all regularly scheduled flights and carried out only several repatriation flights to carry home Austrians stranded abroad, as well as freight flights to carry medical supplies. In June, to help it weather the pandemic, the airline received €600 million in financial aid from Lufthansa and the Austrian government. The year 2020 meant for Austrian Airlines a 75% cut in capacity, an 81% drop in sales, and only 3.1 million passengers transported, 79% fewer than the previous year.
In the first half of 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic continued to have a drastic effect on Austrian Airlines’ operating results. Due to strict travel restrictions and a low number of flights, the number of passengers fell by 44% to 1.1 million (1st half of 2020 – 2.0 million, 1st half of 2019 – 6.7 million). At the end of the second quarter of 2021, Austrian Airlines was only able to offer around 55% of its pre-crisis capacity.
In the 2021 summer, Austrian Airlines focused on holiday destinations to meet the increased demand in the tourist segment. With more than 100 destinations, Austrian Airlines offered a variety of destinations at pre-pandemic levels and carried 2.3 million passengers, an increase of 206% compared to 2020. The third fiscal quarter of 2021 was the first positive operating quarter since the beginning of the pandemic, with an adjusted quarterly result of +2 million euros.
In February 2022, Austrian Airlines announced that four A320neos join its fleet between August 2022 and Spring 2023. The new aircraft, with a capacity of 180 seats, will significantly enhance travel comfort on short- and medium-haul routes.