Pilot Shortage Forces Austrian Airlines to Cancel 150 Flights in June

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Lufthansa subsidiary Austrian Airlines will cancel 150 flights in June because of a pilot shortage again this year. The Austrian flag carrier will wet-lease three aircraft during the European summer peak season to stabilize operations.

The pilot shortage this year comes as the airline is transferring its Fokker 70/100 fleet to Embraer E195s in a fleet renewal program that requires pilot retraining. It is adding 17 former Lufthansa CityLine Embraer E195s to its fleet and is phasing out aging Fokker 70/100s. The Star Alliance member recently took delivery of its fifth Embraer E195.

Several selected frequencies will be canceled throughout the entire network in June, including reducing its 4X-daily domestic flights from Vienna to Klagenfurt to 3X-daily.

The carrier has also wet-leased one Airbus A320 from German leisure airline Condor (from May 15) and one Boeing 737-800 from Turkish carrier SunExpress (from June 1). Both aircraft are under contract until December 2016. Austrian has also wet-leased one Bombardier Regional Jet from Slovenia-based Adria Airways from May 1.

“We are doing this to stabilize our operations. Also, it is part of our business to cover the busy summer peak with additional aircraft, because demand is very strong during the four-month period,” Austrian Airlines spokesperson Peter Thier told ATW.

“Right now, every second Austrian pilot is undergoing training for a different aircraft type, which is quite challenging for our company,” Austrian CFO Heinz Lachinger told ATW recently.

Last year, Austrian was also forced to cancel many short- and medium-haul flights because of a pilot shortage, mainly due to illness during the summer high season.

Source: atwonline.com