Getting ready for gradual takeoff
Austrian Airlines said Thursday that it would resume flights from June 15 after almost three months of being grounded due to the new coronavirus pandemic, which has heavily restricted international travel.
Flights will resume to destinations in Europe, including London, Paris and Brussels, as well as Tel Aviv from June 15, the carrier, a subsidiary of the German giant Lufthansa, said in a statement.
More cities, including in Austria, will be added from June 22 bringing the total number of destinations up to 37, it said.
The airlines said the flights, mostly serviced by smaller planes such as the Embraer 195 and Dash 8, represented about five percent of the capacity offered during the same period last year.
The carrier said it was considering adding long-distance flights in July depending on demand for short- and medium distance flights.
Passengers will have to wear masks covering their mouths and noses, the airlines added.
The carrier is currently in negotiations with Austria’s government for state aid.
Initially it demanded 767 million euros ($844 million), but recent media reports suggested the amount could have gone down after the airline’s employees accepted pay cuts.
Politicians from the Green party, the junior partner in conservative Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s government, have said that any state aid should be tied to policies to combat climate change.
Suggestions for what that could mean in practice have included slashing the number of short distance flights and using alternative fuels.
Coronavirus-stricken airline group Lufthansa wavered Wednesday on grabbing a nine-billion-euro German state lifeline, throwing up new turbulence for a rescue that could decide the fate of the historic company.
© 2020 AFP