Austrian Airlines' operational transfer to its regional subsidiary Tyrolean Airways last year has been called into question, after Austria's supreme court asked the European Court of Justice to clarify the legality of the move.
Austrian transferred all flight operations to Tyrolean in July 2012 to cut staff costs for pilots and cabin crew. While the employee salary levels were not reduced, the move was particularly aimed at slowing the rate of pay increases.
But the Austria Supreme Court has now ruled that "it must request clarification from the European Court of Justice on several legal issues" about the operational transfer, says the Vienna-based Lufthansa subsidiary carrier.
The issues revolve around "after-effects" of Austrian's former pilot-wage agreement, which have yet to be fully clarified, says the airline.
While the Alpine country's supreme court is assessing the former wage agreement for the pilots and cabin crew, the labour and social affairs court in Vienna is dealing with the operational transfer's "specific legal repercussions" in regard to employment regulations.
Austrian expects any ruling by the European Court of Justice to take "at least" a year.