Lufthansa subsidiary Austrian Airlines is preparing to receive the first of 17 modified Embraer E-195s.
The first 120-seat jet will be used on training purposes initially before transitioning to revenue service. The first commercial flight is scheduled for January 2016. A second aircraft is expected to join the fleet in September.
Austrian acquired 17 former Lufthansa CityLine Embraer E-195s at a list price of nearly $900 million to replace its aging Fokker 70/100 fleet.
Lufthansa CityLine in turn will receive Bombardier CRJ900 NextGen jets from Eurowings, which is to become an all-Airbus A320 operator.
The Embraer jets have an average age of four years, compared to the average age of about 21 years with Austrian’s Fokker 70/100 fleet. The E-195s use about 18% less fuel per seat.
Nearly 200 Austrian Airlines pilots will be retrained to operate the Embraer aircraft. The company has wet-leased two Estonian Air Embraer E-170s for the period of the pilot-training process.
However, the retraining program is ambitious and the Star Alliance member was forced to cancel 70 short- and medium-haul flights in late July in part because of a pilot shortage.
(Kurt Hofmann - ATWOnline News)