Austrian Airlines Boeing 767 taking off

Long-haul fleet renewal ramps up as Austrian launches Vienna-Boston


BOSTON — Austrian Airlines’ long-haul fleet renewal program will see the Lufthansa Group subsidiary phase out all its aged widebodies in roughly three years. The carrier’s Boeing 767-300ERs will be replaced by Boeing 787s first, company chief commercial officer Michael Trestl confirmed to Runway Girl Network on 1 July in Boston, where management gathered with Petra Schneebauer, the Austrian ambassador to the US, and other local dignitaries to celebrate the long-awaited launch of Austrian’s new nonstop service between Vienna International Airport and Boston Logan.

The new six-weekly Vienna-Boston service, which is currently operated with 211-seat 767-300ERs, marks the very first time that Austria is operating from the Boston gateway — joining Lufthansa and SWISS, and bringing the number of weekly flights by Lufthansa Group carriers serving the New England region to a record 39.

Austrian management, Boston leaders and Petra Schneebauer, the Austrian ambassador to the US, cut the ribbon on the carrier's new Vienna-Boston service.

Austrian management, Boston leaders and Petra Schneebauer, the Austrian ambassador to the US, cut the ribbon on the carrier’s new Vienna-Boston service. Image: Mary Kirby

Before long, the new Vienna-Boston route will be served by Boeing 787 twinjets. “We are currently in the largest fleet rollover or modernization of our long-haul fleet which will extend until 2027. So, by 2027 we will have a completely new 787 fleet,” said Trestl. Given that the 767-300ERs are being phased out first, he added, “basically by the beginning or the middle of 2026, most probably there will be no 767s left anymore in our fleet.” Thereafter, the last of the Boeing 777-200ERs will also exit.

Austrian has already inducted two ex-Bamboo Airways 787-9s. On 15 June, the first of these, bearing registration OE-LPL, was pressed into service on the carrier’s service to New York JFK. The second 787-9, OE-LPM, made its long-haul debut on 28 June, flying to Chicago O’Hare. Nine more 787-9s are slated to gradually enter the fleet including a cluster from sister Lufthansa.

Rendering of an Austrian 787 in-flight over green fields on a sunny day.

The 787s first flew short hops around Europe, before being added to Austrian’s long-haul schedule. Image: Austrian Airlines

The three-class, 294-seat 787-9s feature 26 full-flat, business class seats with direct aisle access; plus 21 seats in premium economy and 247 in economy class. Austrian boasts that the raised side panels of the business suites ensure greater privacy. Notably, the carrier is offering FlyNet inflight connectivity on the 787s, powered by Panasonic Avionics’ Ku-band satellite system. Passengers can avail of a free messaging tier, or a paid browsing tier.

Window seat of Super Diamond aboard the Austrian 787

Collins Aerospace’s popular Super Diamond is a very safe choice aboard the Austrian 787s. Image: Austrian Airlines.

In adopting a classic 1-2-1 reverse herringbone configuration for business class, as least on its initial 787s, Austrian is seen as taking a more standard approach to cabin design than the Lufthansa Group’s Future InterContinental Experience (FICE) products which comprise no fewer than seven different types of business class seats, and recently debuted on sister Lufthansa under the Allegris brand.

Thus far, Allegris has enjoyed largely positive reviews, especially for its front-row, business-plus offering. SWISS, meanwhile, is gearing up to introduce its Senses-branded version of the same product next year, with a different color palette.

“What Austrian stands for is really warm-hearted hospitality and culinary experience on board… alongside its cultural heritage, which Austria is also famous for,” noted Trestl. “We do have a flat-bed seat on our business class. We do have also on our newly introduced 787s an all aisle access business class and it is very much a popular product combined with this culinary experience of authentic Austrian hospitality.”

A Flying Chef shares culinary delights on board the 787

Austrian is particularly well known for providing culinary delights in business class via the famous Do & Co Flying Chefs. And its “Viennese coffee house service on board” is cherished by passengers. Image: Austrian Airlines

The Vienna-Boston service, meanwhile, was actually slated to begin in March 2020, but the Covid pandemic put the kibosh on that plan. Now, in terms of capacity, Austrian’s summer 2024 schedule is in fact “already a little bit above our 2019 pre-Covid level, which we are very happy about that we were able to manage this ramp up again so quickly,” said Trestl.

“And the inauguration of Boston marks actually our eighth new intercontinental destination. We are this summer flying almost 40 times a week between Austria and Vienna and a US destination.”

The flag is raised to join other flags of the world at Boston Logan's Terminal E.

The Austrian flag is raised to join other flags of the world at Boston Logan’s Terminal E. Image: Mary Kirby

More broadly, at the Lufthansa Group, this summer has been a “summer of growth” over the North Atlantic, said company vice president sales, The Americas, Dirk Janzen.

“We grew by 11 percent. We opened new destinations, Minneapolis and Raleigh-Durham. We opened Washington-Zurich, Toronto-Zurich, and Austrian is opening Boston-Vienna. It’s just a fantastic opportunity to grow in this very strong market and to bring all these different brands here. And so we are super excited.”


This ramp up is not without its challenges. Supply chain constraints in industry has of course put pressure on airframers, suppliers and ergo airlines globally. “This is of course a big challenge that we are having as an industry. But I’m sure that we will tackle it also together,” Trestl told RGN.

In light of these bottlenecks, and Austrian’s focus on hospitality and culinary delights, it would be understandable if the carrier opted not to adopt Lufthansa Group’s FICE products on board, though it sounds like a final decision has not yet been made.

“It’s confirmed that we have Allegris for Lufthansa and we have the Senses for Swiss and Austrian is still currently evaluating,” said Janzen. As to whether Lufthansa Group is also scouring the market for more 787s, Janzen said: “I cannot really comment on that.”

What is clear is that Austrian takes high pride in showcasing its culture and this, said Janzen, “really adds something to the Lufthansa Group. We have these different brands that each individually bring so much to the table and that diversity of what we call in Germany, Vielfalt, makes us very special.”

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Featured image credited to Austrian Airlines/Patrick Huber