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Austrian Airlines Welcomes Final Airbus A320 Back To Fleet

Austrian Airlines has said its final Airbus A320 aircraft is finally operational once again. The Airbus aircraft had been in long-term storage since March 2020 in the European country. With its return, the Austrian Airlines fleet of 61 aircraft is fully operational. This marks a significant milestone for the Austrian carrier in terms of post-pandemic recovery. Let’s take a closer look.

About the airframe

Austrian Airlines recently welcomed back an Airbus A320-200 aircraft registered as OE-LBR. The airframe, bearing MSN 1150, is 22.6 years old and has been with the carrier since delivery on February 1st, 2000. During its life, OE-LBR has also served for Lauda Air and Tyrolean Airways, both wholly-owned subsidiaries of Austrian Airlines.

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According to data from ch-aviation.com, OE-LBR is currently valued at $6.63 million. In over two decades of commercial operations, the airframe has accumulated 55,194 flight hours and 29,728 flight cycles, until April 30th, 2022. The plane is named Bregenzer Wald after the scenic Bregenz mountain range in the Austrian state of Vorarlberg.

OE-LBR was kept parked since March 2020. Photo: Austrian Airlines

Just before the pandemic took global aviation by storm in 2020, Austrian Airlines conducted cabin refurbishments on OE-LBR. Aerospace innovation company FACC upgraded the plane under its “Passenger Luggage Space Upgrade” retrofit program. OE-LBR and two other Austrian A320s were fitted with improved and lighter overhead cabin storage compartments that could accommodate more luggage.


After its final flight from Arbil (EBL) to Vienna (VIE) on March 15th, 2020, OE-LBR was kept in long-term storage. The airframe was moved on September 16th that same year to Bratislava (BTS) and didn’t fly again until April 26th, 2022. The plane was ferried to Tallinn (TLL) first to ensure it was still air-worthy before it was allowed to join operations in July.

With the return of OE-LBR to Austrian Airlines’ operational fleet, the airline is officially operating all its aircraft for commercial operations. Austrian currently operates 61 aircraft, including:

  • 6 x Boeing 777-200ER
  • 3 x Boeing 767-300ER
  • 3 x Airbus A321-100
  • 3 x Airbus A321-200
  • 29 x Airbus A320-200
  • 17 x Embraer 195

Austrian Airlines is operating all of its 61 aircraft. Photo: Austrian Airlines

Robust post-pandemic recovery

When asked about Austrian’s post-pandemic performance, a spokesperson from the airline told Simple Flying,

“After a worldwide easing of Covid-measures in first months of 2022, Austrian Airlines experienced a huge demand in new bookings. On some routes – especially European routes on the Mediterranean are partially over pre-pandemic level. We started with steep booking increases into the summer season and our passengers are booking on a long-term basis again. Especially popular are flights to leisure destinations around the Mediterranean like Catania, Rhodes, Heraklion, Larnaca or Malaga but also flights to Kevlavik are very well booked. In addition, city trips to London, Amsterdam, Paris, Rome, Nice or Barcelona are in high demand.”

Indeed, the aviation sector is experiencing a strong recovery from the horrors of the pandemic, forcing carriers like Austrian to beef-up capacity. However, the recent chaos induced by the lack of staff at European airports could be a major hurdle for airlines like Austrian.

What do you make of Austrian Airlines reviving its entire fleet from storage? Do you think post-pandemic demand could be curtailed by disruptions at European airports? Please, let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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