Austrian Airlines today took delivery of 2 Airbus A320 aircraft as it begins to migrate to an Airbus-only fleet for its medium-haul service. In all, 7 new A320’s are expected to be in the fleet by the end of next year. The 2 delivered today are scheduled to enter service later this quarter or early in the 4th quarter of this year. As each new A320 enters service, one 737 will be removed (4 have already been sold). Currently Austrian has a total of 15 A320 and A321’s and 7 Boeing 737’s.

The decision by Austrian to move to an all Airbus fleet for it’s medium haul service is as a result of extensive cost cutting measures initiated by the airline earlier this year. As a member of The Lufthansa Group, it has been challenged by the parent company to return to profitability under Lufthansa’s Group SCORE initiative. The word from Austrian is that a return to profitability is actually possible yet this year.

Standardizing its fleet as much as possible is seen as a necessary step to reach their profitability objective. With an all Airbus fleet for their medium haul routes, they will recognize substantial savings on crew expense and parts inventory/maintenance since they will no longer have to maintain parallel processes for 2 different aircraft models.

Austrian still operates 6 Boeing 767’s and 4 Boeing 777’s on it’s long haul routes along with an assortment of Bombardier and Fokker aircraft for it’s short haul schedules.

At the moment Austrian is saying that it will continue to operate Boeing Aircraft on it’s long haul flights, but I can’t help but wonder if that attitude will change over time especially when the A350’s start entering service. Having a standardized fleet across it’s entire operation should only bring additional efficiencies and savings to Austrian. More to come on this since their 767’s and 777’s are not getting any younger!