Austrian unaffected by crew resignations

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Around 20% of Austrian Airlines's pilots and 15% of its cabin crew have resigned as a result of the flight operations transferral to regional subsidiary Tyrolean Airways next month.

Loss-making Austrian is concentrating all flight and cabin crew under Tyrolean's collective bargaining agreement to cut costs. But employees of the mainline carrier were entitled to take "privileged resignation" until 2 June, which allowed them to leave with compensation entitlements equivalent to those awarded in the event of redundancy under their former contract.

Some 118 out of the approximately 600 pilots at Austrian and its charter division, Lauda Air, have opted to leave the company, a spokesman tells Flightglobal. Among the 1,500 cabin crew members in the mainline operation, 221 employees decided to go.

Tyrolean's workforce thus far comprised around 400 pilots and 500 cabin crew members, in addition to the above employment figures at Austrian/Lauda Air.

The works council for Austrian's flight and cabin crew previously estimated that 200-300 pilots could opt to leave, rather than accepting positions under Tyrolean conditions.

Staff cost at Tyrolean are 20-25% lower than at the mainline operations, according to Austrian. While the existing pay levels for mainline staff will not be cut, the salaries will be increased at slower rates than under the former bargaining agreement.

The departure of the resigned pilots and cabin crews will not affect the busy summer schedule, according to the spokesman. Austrian has wet-leased four narrowbody aircraft from its parent, Lufthansa, and sister carrier Swiss International Air Lines for July and August, while smaller routes may be handled by other carriers.

In April, Austrian Airlines contracted Innsbruck-based regional carrier Air Alps to operate the majority of its flights between Vienna and Linz.

However, additional pilot capacity will also be created through amendments to employment conditions. While mainline pilots previously had to work 700 flight hours a year, this will be increased to 800FH under the new contract.