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April 21, 2024
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In one of the worst-kept secrets of aviation, Austrian Airlines has finally confirmed that it will induct the Boeing 787 into its fleet. The airline will take delivery of the first 787-9 in time for the 2024 summer schedule and receive another nine through 2028, it announced today. Austrian Airlines finally confirms it will get the Boeing 787.

Austrian says in its press release that the aircraft will be “transferred gradually” from parent-airline Lufthansa, “respectively from existing orders from Lufthansa Group.” Lufthansa has 34 unfilled orders for the 787-9, including seven that were announced on March 2 as part of its widebody order for Dreamliners and Airbus A350s. It currently operates 787s that were previously ordered by other customers. Austrian confirmed to aeroTELEGRAPH that it will take the five Dreamliners that are currently operated by Lufthansa and that are former Hainan and Suparna Airlines aircraft. The first joined Lufthansa in August 2022.

The arrival of the Dreamliner at Austrian marks an important step in its fleet renewal strategy. For years, the replacement of the aging 767s and 777s had been discussed, with an order for the 787 seen as a formality. Last October, CEO Annette Mann told AirInsight that a final decision was depending on the outcome of a wider review of Lufthansa’s hub strategy in relation to the European Union’s sustainability plans. If implemented, the Fit for 55 program could make European hubs less competitive and reduce the need for Austrian to have its own extensive international network and fleet.

With today’s announcement, Austrian confirms that it will actually slightly grow its widebody fleet. It will replace three 767-300s that have an average age of over 23.5 years old and six  777-200s that are over 22 years old with ten new Dreamliners.

Austrian hasn’t shared details of the cabin configuration of the 787s, except for saying the cabin will feature “innovative concepts.” It seems unlikely they will get the Allegris First Class cabin, as Lufthansa’s own 787s will only get the Allegris Business Class, Premium Economy, and Economy cabins, with First Class reserved for the A350s, 777-9s, and 747-8I. Sister airline SWISS will introduce its own version of Allegris on the A350s it has on order.

“With the ‘Dreamliner’ Austrian Airlines is taking off to a new era of aircraft and is setting course for growth. The fleet induction of ten Boeing 787-9 in the coming five years shows that we are fit for investments and the future”, Annette Mann says in the media statement.

author avatar
Richard Schuurman
Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016. Richard is contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He also writes for Airliner World, Aviation News, Piloot & Vliegtuig, and Luchtvaartnieuws Magazine. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.

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