From May, Austrian Airlines will once again be offering its passengers the full pre-Corona long-haul service. This means that the last long-haul destination, Tokyo, will also be reintroduced into the flight schedule as of 4 May and Teruel Airport will finally be turned its back on.
Teruel – the long-term parking area for aircraft
On an old military site in north-eastern Spain, many aircraft were temporarily stored by their owners due to the Corona pandemic. Tarmac Aerosave is the name of the company that takes care of aircraft storage, maintenance and scrapping here. Due to the low humidity and around 242 days of sunshine a year, the aircraft are particularly well protected against corrosion at this location. The airport has space for about 250 aircraft, with mainly wide-body aircraft needed for long-haul destinations being stored temporarily. With the return to normality, however, the long-term parking area is emptying again. At the end of March, Austrian Airlines also brought back its last Boeing 777 from Teruel and made it ready for long-haul operations.
Tokyo – the last step towards normality
With the long-haul destination Tokyo, Austrian Airlines’ long-haul service will be complete again as of 4 May. However, the destination will only be served once a week in May and June. The offer will then be increased from July to October with three flights a week. This reduced flight schedule is due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Some of the direct flights from Vienna to Asia have to take long detours to avoid entering Russian airspace. This manifests itself concretely in an increase in travel time of about 2.5 hours for a flight to Tokyo. The increase in travel time requires a second crew on board and thus significantly increases the costs.
For the summer, the situation looks more optimistic in the opposite direction – towards North America. The connection from Vienna to Los Angeles, which had already been discontinued before the Corona pandemic, has been resumed, thus Austrian Airlines offers more than 30 flights per week to North America in its summer flight schedule. After the winter holiday destinations such as the Maldives, Mauritius or Cancun showed high demand, everything is now finally pointing back towards normality in flight operations thanks to the return to full long-haul service in the summer.