Lufthansa subsidiary Austrian Airlines is set to renew its narrowbody fleet by replacing 18 Bombardier Dash 8 Q400s with 10 Airbus A320s.

As a first step, Austrian plans to take six A320s beginning in August through next year.

The first four A320s, leased from US lessor Aviation Capital Group, will begin joining the fleet from August through October and will launch operations in December. These aircraft were previously operated by Avianca Brasil.

Two further A320s, leased from CDB Aviation Lease Finance, will be delivered in 2020. These aircraft were formerly operated by Star Alliance connecting partner Juneyao Airlines.

No other information was given on the other four planned A320 acquisitions.  

The Star Alliance member has been impacted by increasing LCC competition at its Vienna hub in the aftermath of the airberlin bankruptcy.

Austrian Airlines CCO Andreas Otto said these six A320s “should also be understood as a clear signal to the LCC competition in Vienna. We defend our market position and are determined to fight for our customers.”

By 2021, Austrian plans to increase its Airbus fleet from 36 to 46 aircraft. As of June 30, the airline had 82 aircraft in its fleet.

Two Dash 8 Q400s have already left the fleet, with a third aircraft scheduled to depart later this year. In 2020, nine Q400s will be phased out and a further six will leave in 2021.

Kurt Hofmann, hofmann.aviation@netway.at