AUA Delays Extraordinary Supervisory Board Meeting
AUA´s management has not reached a compromise with its staff yet. As a new collective agreement is still missing, the supervisory board meeting has been postponed by March 13.
After the management of Austrian Airlines was not successful until now, wants to finalize a new collective agreement with its pilots within the next two weeks. Initially, the supervisory board meeting was planned for February 29. Due to the missing agreement, the meeting will take place on March 13.
CEO Jaan Albrecht emphasized to continue the austerity program Over the last six weeks, the administration was analyzed in order to locate further saving potential. Further possibilities for cost cuts of € 100m were found, revenues upside potential is estimated to reach € 60m. “Though, that is not sufficient in order to bring AUA to the profit zone.” Albrecht wants to close “further gaps” in the next two weeks.
The most controversial issue is still the collective agreement for AUA´s pilots. The airline has terminated the current contracts and threatens to switch to the cheaper collective agreement of the subsidiary Tyrolean, where personnel costs are lower by 20 to 25%. The austerity package of the management plans to cut severance payments, automatic salary increases and a more flexible working time regulation.
Although the last negotiations were broken up again, the works council member Karl Minhard is optimistic to “negotiate reasonably”. On Friday, a works meeting of AUA´s flight crew is scheduled. AUA employs 580 pilots and 1,500 flight attendants.
AUA´s management said to be disappointed because of the „inflexibility“ of the aviation authority Austro Control. Substantial cost cuts could be reached with maintenance suppliers. New contracts with Vienna International Airport were concluded, AUA stated. Annual revenues at the Viennese airport due to AUA amount to € 200m. In total, the Viennese airport becomes much cheaper for AUA than airports in Frankfurt, Munich and Zurich. Besides that, “significant contributions” by 60 suppliers were made.
AUA´s management also hopes to lower air ticket taxes. The annual burden is estimated to reach € 30m. The airline said that the government sent many signals to support AUA, but the awaited target is not reached yet. Albrecht underlines that it is not about supporting the airline, but securing the existence of the air hub Vienna and the whole business location of AUA.
The German holding company Lufthansa calls for further austerity measures. AUA´s management talks about “struggling for survival”. The staff fears a re-sale of AUA or even a bankruptcy. In total, savings should reach € 220m in 2012. Last year, AUA recorded losses of € 64m. Initially, Lufthansa planned to achieve the turnaround in 2011. AUA was taken over in 2009.