AUSTRIAN announced several major initiatives under yet another new plan, this time referred to as ‘Next Level Austrian’……
Beginning with the Summer 2018 timetable, Austrian will offer Premium Economy seating aboard their 777 and 767 long-haul aircraft. The retrofits will begin in the Winter of 2017 and should be completed by the end of Summer 2018. The seats will be similar to what we already see in Lufthansa’s Premium Economy. With the new seat will come improved leg room, better recline angles, and enhanced dining as compared to Economy. The 767 will have 18 Premium Economy seats installed and the 777 will have 24 Premium Economy Seats on board.
This comes at the expense of both Business and Economy seats: To make room for the Premium Economy cabin, Business and Economy class will both have a reduction in the number of overall seats. According to Austrian, the pricing will fall in between Economy and Business fares. I expect this to be very much like the Lufthansa Premium Economy product which has been very successful for the airline.
As part of the same announcement, OS has also indicated that their aircraft will begin an upgrade process that will see the installation of WiFi throughout the entire fleet. The first aircraft will be have Wifi available for passengers by mid-December of this year and the entire fleet will have connectivity by Summer 2017.
With the broadband system, passengers will be able to use their smart devices for any internet-based purpose including live streaming, email, etc. Per the existing policy using the service for phone calls will still not be allowed. Pricing is yet to be determined.
In the coming weeks and months, several airports throughout Europe will witness a relatively rare event when Austrian ‘Heavies’ will replace regional jets.
If you live in, or travel to Dubrovnik, Frankfurt, Paris, Larnaca, Hamburg, or Zurich expect to see OS’ 767s and 777s operate on regularly scheduled flights. In addition to these Euro cities, Cairo will see Austrian’s 767 as well.
It appears that Austrian has agreed to use their long haul fleet to allow SWISS pilots to gain certifications as SWISS begins to receive their 777 aircraft from Boeing. Not to worry, the LX pilots will be flying with OS pilots who are already certified for the aircraft types. The process will take place between April and October with numerous flights around Europe.
Nothing official has been spoken by either airline but according to a trustworthy source, FlyerTalk’s Oliver2002, this is nothing new for Austrian and SWISS to work together like this to help pilots get their hours and certifications.
The list of flights that will have a 767 or 777 assigned to it is a fairly lengthy and complicated one, so instead of spending hours deciphering all the variables here is a link to AirlineRoute.com’s webpage that provides a summary of the affected flights. Their presentation is quite complex, so if you have any specific questions regarding dates and flights, please leave a comment here and I’ll clear it up for you. I’ve attached a screen shot of their page for your convenience:
Austrian’s Euro timetable for 767 and 777 operations. Courtesy of AirlineRoute.net
So when you show up to your flight expecting some kind of ATR or ERJ, don’t be shocked when you see a 250-300 seat ‘Jumbo’ waiting to take you on your 45 minute flight from Vienna to Zurich.