Austrian Airlines is converting four of its Airbus A320 aircraft on a staged basis until September 2008, equipping the Business Class zones of each aircraft with 24 exclusive Recaro business sleeper seats. The Austrian route network continues to develop dynamically, not only in Eastern Europe but also in the Middle East and Levant region. Due to the strategic geographical location of Vienna, Austrian can use its fleet of medium-haul aircraft to serve destinations up to six hours’ flight from Central Europe. Austrian Airlines is seeking to continue its policy of expansion in these high-growth economic regions. The new Premium Service will enable Austrian to increase its competitive edge in the Middle East and Eastern Europe will be increased further still.
The seats will provide a range of state-of-the-art features including 116 cm of legroom, a backrest set at a tilt offering the maximum level of comfort, electronically adjustable backrest and footrest and integrated massage function, ensuring the user experiences a relaxed flight. An integrated PC socket, individual reading light and personal screen complete the features offered by the seat. Every passenger receives a personal and individually operable DVD player for the flight. A wide-ranging assortment of newspapers and magazines and richly varied, exclusive fly & buy inflight sales range also ensure a highly enjoyable travel experience.
A unique service including a range of delicious creations from DO&CO - in tune with the duration of flights and specific cultural requirements - will ensure passengers hit the culinary heights when travelling with Austrian. A short Austrian coffee menu consisting of speciality coffees and reflecting traditional Viennese coffee house culture will round off the service.
By installing a fixed dividing wall between the Business and Economy Class zones of the cabin, Austrian will create a more relaxed and agreeable atmosphere on these routes. A built-in Business Class wardrobe also provides passengers with plenty of storage space on board. The upgraded aircraft will be deployed exclusively on existing routes into the Middle East (Damascus, Cairo, Tehran and Dubai), and to Astana in Central Asia, from September 2008 onwards.
“With our converted Airbus A320 aircraft, we want to offer passengers on flights lasting between three and a half and six hours increased levels of comfort, privacy and exclusivity, thereby setting another milestone in our quality and service offensive,” stated Alfred ?-tsch, Chief Executive Officer of Austrian Airlines. “Our new service features will enable business passengers on these longer routes to travel in the knowledge that they will reach their destination in a relaxed, stress-free condition. Mr ?-tsch continued: “We are expecting this Business Class product to generate a load factor of approximately 75%, and consequently a clear increase in our yield and higher profitability. Up to 400,000 passengers a year will have the opportunity to enjoy Premium Service comfort. Assuming the concept is as successful as we anticipate, we are considering extending the project, enabling us to successfully open up more new markets thereafter.”
As delivery times for the sleeper seats are currently relatively long, the conversion work will not begin until July 2008. Once the conversions begin, they will take approximately 10 days per aircraft and be partially integrated into the regular checks. The reconfigured four Airbus A320 aircraft will eventually take off with 24 high-comfort business sleeper seats in Business Class and 102 Economy Class seats.
As part of its all-round service offensive, Austrian Airlines is focussing strongly on making consistent improvements to its product and service range. Innovations include the recently completed conversion of the company’s long-haul aircraft to take the comfortable new lie-flat sleeper seats in Business Class, and the increasing of legroom in Business Class on the Fokker fleet of Austrian arrows.