According to an Airliner.de article today (In German), it appears that Austrian’s board will decide the fate of the carrier on April 19 during a scheduled board meeting.
As had been discussed in an earlier blog entry, Austrian (part of the Lufthansa Group) has been debating whether or not to move the airline to it’s Tyrolean subsidiary and apply Tyrolean’s business structure to Austrian.
Austrian has been operating at a loss for some time and a decision to save Austria’s national carrier needs to be made. Under the proposal submitted to the board, The Austrian logo and flight numbers would remain in tact, but the airline would change it’s name to Tyrolean Airways, to match the subsidiary name.
The primary driver for this move is to improve operational performance and reduce expenses. Tyrolean also has a far different structure in place in terms of employer/employee agreements. It is believed that adopting Austrian to the Tyrolean platform will help save Austrian and keep their planes flying. From the employee perspective, especially the pilots, it will require them to adapt to a compensation model that is not nearly as generous as Austrian’s current arrangement. This can lead to an exodus of pilots from Austrian, especially since they are eligible to receive special compensation based on triggering events such as a merger or “re-tooling” of the airline’s structure. Emirates has made it no secret that they would be interested in this outflow of Austrian pilots.
No doubt that there will be much more to this as the meeting date nears.