Austrian Airlines’ aircraft will once again take off on regularly scheduled flights on 15 June 2020 after a break of close to 90 days. The first planes will take off for London, Paris and Brussels, among others. Austrian Airlines will offer flights to the following destinations in the first week of resuming its flight operations: Amsterdam, Athens, Basel, Berlin, Brussels, Bucharest, Dubrovnik, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva, Hamburg, Copenhagen, Larnaca, London, Munich, Paris, Pristina, Sarajevo, Skopje, Sofia, Stockholm, Stuttgart, Tel Aviv, Thessaloniki, Tirana, Varna and Zurich. In the following week, namely from 22-28 June 2020, the airline will operate flights to additional destinations, i.e. Belgrade, Graz, Innsbruck, Kyiv, Košice, Milan, Nice, Prague, Split and Warsaw. Accordingly, Austrian Airlines will take off to 37 destinations in the first two weeks of resuming flight operations, subject to new official restrictions, and offer an average of 5 percent capacity compared to the previous year.
The corresponding flight schedule is now visible on austrian.com, among others. In the initial phase, the airline will primarily deploy smaller aircraft such as Embraer 195 and Dash 8. Other destinations will be added in subsequent weeks. The airline is currently developing a flight schedule for July and will provide the relevant information in the near future.
“We all are pleased that Austrian Airlines is finally flying again. I would like to thank our customers for their patience and understanding. And of course, I would like to thank our employees who stood firm in their commitment to our Austrian Airlines during these last few months”, says CCO Andreas Otto. “We will also resume long-haul flight service as soon as we have sufficient feeder traffic on short- and medium-haul routes. This could already be the case in July”, he adds.
What passengers have to keep in mind when flying in times of the coronavirus
Passengers are required to wear a mouth-nose covering on board Austrian Airlines aircraft as well as at Vienna Airport. All passengers are asked to bring their protective masks themselves, as is required when using other means of public transport. Furthermore, all customers are asked to take account of currently valid entry and quarantine regulations at their respective destinations when planning their journeys (see the IATA Travel Centre website). Restrictions may be imposed during the entire trip due to the tougher hygienic and safety regulations, for example longer waiting times at airport security checks. When selecting or assigning seats, the general directive is that passengers, who do not live in the same household, should disperse themselves throughout the aircraft as far apart from each other as possible. However, in the case of high capacity utilization, no passenger will be refused a seat in order to keep a neighboring seat free.
Intensified protective measures already initiated
At the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, Austrian Airlines already increased the frequency of aircraft cabin cleaning. This will, of course, be continued in the resumption. Intensive cleaning is thus carried out more often alongside standard cleaning procedures after each flight. This particularly applies to the cleaning of all tables, armrests, seat belts and doorknobs. Naturally, passengers will always have water and soap available in the lavatories to wash their hands. Special filters ensure continuous air purification on board during flights. The standard of these devices corresponds to those in clinical operating rooms, making the air on board cleaner than the air a person breathes on earth. Furthermore, the flow pattern of air in the aircraft takes place from top to bottom, meaning that it is improbable that the air is distributed among the seat rows.
Vienna Airport also requires people to wear protective masks and has enhanced its cleaning operations. So-called “sneeze guards” (plexiglass panes) have been installed at the check-in, boarding and information counters. Floor markings help to maintain a safe distance. Moreover, the passengers can make use of hand disinfectant dispensers along their entire path until they reach the aircraft. In this way, the aircraft can be boarded gradually in smaller groups. Furthermore, quick boarding gates at Vienna Airport enable contactless boarding. A scanner reads the boarding pass, thus eliminating the need for personal contact to an employee.
Rebooking period extended until December 2021
Austrian Airlines has once again extended the period for rebooking flights at no charge in order to accommodate the wish of many passengers for enhanced flexibility in planning their journeys. Tickets which have already been booked or which will first be booked before 30 June 2020 for flights until 30 April 2021 can now be rebooked to a new travel date up until 31 December 2021 (latest start of the new trip). Passengers have until 31 January 2021 to specify a new flight date. The ticket will be held in abeyance up until then and the value of the ticket will remain unchanged.
Tickets for cancelled flights can also be rebooked after the original flight date. In the case of intact flight connections, passengers have to notify the airline of changes before the actual travel date.