In the face of stiff competition from LCCs in Vienna, Austrian Airlines will undertake an aggressive cost-cutting effort in 2020 and could eliminate hundreds of jobs.

A source close to the airline’s management told ATW the carrier will aim to slash expenses by at least €60 million ($67 million). Vienna-based newspaper Die Presse reported the number could reach €100 million and include the loss of up to 500 jobs. The Lufthansa subsidiary has around 7,000 employees.

The company had no comment on the report. Spokesman Peter Thier referred ATW to Austrian’s upcoming third-quarter financial results press conference on Nov. 7.

The airline is in a heated fare war with 16 LCCs at its Vienna hub. Austrian Airlines and Lufthansa LCC Eurowings Europe are collaborating on a new strategy “to strengthen the Vienna hub and expand decentralized traffic from the Austrian federal states,” the airlines announced in September.

Austrian is also in the process of phasing out its 16 remaining Bombardier Dash 8 Q400s and replacing them with 10 Airbus A320s by 2021. With those and aircraft leased from Eurowings, the airline will increase its Vienna-based A320-family fleet to 50, up from the current 36.

The LCC battle in Vienna erupted in the aftermath of the bankruptcy of airberlin and its Austria-based subsidiary NIKI. LCCs began moving into the market and Vienna became one of the fastest-growing airports of its size in Europe.

The main LCC competitors in Vienna are Ryanair subsidiary LaudaMotion (the rebranded NIKI), Central and Eastern European Wizz Air, UK-based easyJet and International Airline Group’s Level.

Kurt Hofmann, hofmann.aviation@netway.at