Despite the currently challenging conditions on the world market for used aircraft, the Austrian Airlines Group has succeeded in selling another medium range jet. The aircraft, a Boeing 737-300 bearing the registration OE-ILG, has belonged to the Lauda Air fleet since 1988. The transfer to the new operator took place in mid- September 2002. At the request of the buyer, no details of the sales price or the new owner will be released.
The sale of this Boeing 737 “Classic” represents another important step towards the fleet harmonisation of the Austrian Airlines Group. The Boeing 737 fleet of Lauda Air is to be refitted with the “new generation” of Boeing series 737-700 and -800 aircraft.
A Dash 8-100 with 37 seats, previously operated by Tyrolean Airways, was sold to the aircraft manufacturer Bombardier. This corresponds to the intended fleet harmonization within the regional segment towards Dash 8-300 / -400 with 50. respectively 72 seats.
Despite extremely difficult market conditions, the Group has been able to successfully market a total of ten aircraft in the past twelve-month period. It has sold one Boeing 737-300, 1 Dash 8-300, 1 Dash 8-100 and one Challenger CL-600 jet. One Boeing 737-400, 3 Dash-8-300 and 2 Lear-Jet 60 aircraft from the fleet of the Austrian Airlines Group are subject to long-term lease agreements.
The company has been possible to use the sales to ease pressure on what are referred to as its “empty costs”. The empty costs budgeted for 2002 due to the tragic events of 11th September 2001 have been valued at EUR 56.6m for the financial year 2002.
Chief Financial Officer Thomas Kleibl made the following remarks about the financial repercussions of the sales: “The combination of the sale of these 10 aircraft and additional production brought on by high levels of demand has already enabled us to reduce empty costs for the total year 2002 by over one-half. This effect will continue to be noticeable in coming years.” Chief Executive Officer Vagn Soerensen provided a broader view of the position: “The average age of our current fleet of 96 aircraft is just 4.9 years. This means the Austrian Airlines Group is operating one of the youngest and most modern fleets in world civil aviation.”