Axe may fall on MRO staff as Austrian deepens cuts

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Austrian Airlines has announced further employment cuts as part of its ongoing restructuring programme.

In July, the carrier announced that it would cut 1,000 full-time posts and bring the work force down to around 6,500 employees by mid-2010. Now it says it sees the "necessity" and the "potential" to further reduce staff numbers to closer to 6,000 employees.

Although Austrian says that reductions will be made company-wide, it hints that maintenance workers may be targeted by the new cuts. "We will keep line maintenance but are considering outsourcing parts of base maintenance," says an airline spokesman.

Lufthansa Technik is a possibility for such outsourcing, he adds, though outsourced work would not be sent to the MRO company's German sites.

Recently taken over by Lufthansa, Austrian will hand over fuel-purchasing responsibilities to the German carrier in October. Integration of sales offices has also begun.

Austrian would not reveal the amount of savings targeted by higher staff cutbacks or other policies.