Countdown: The Last Days of Austrian Airlines’ Station JFK

2009 was a temporary year for Austrian Airlines as an organization and in North America. Progressively rode with obligation and incapable to turn around the diving monetary circumstance made by minimal effort transporter rivalry, raising fuel costs, and the financial downturn, its very presence was undermined until a July concurrence with Lufthansa-German Airlines, under which it expected its money related commitments and procured most of its offers, was closed. European Union endorsement of the procurement was acquired two months after the fact.

In the same way as other overall organizations that have been compelled to reevaluate capacities and afterward gave up to takeovers, it was exposed to a few basic changes, especially at its JFK station.

This is the manner by which its last section unfurled.


Looking for a venture accomplice to reestablish its monetary practicality, Austrian Airlines investigated a few alternatives, yet the initial step to an answer happened on March 2, 2009, when Lufthansa made a public proposal for the tri-transporter Austrian Airlines Group after it agreed with the state holding organization to buy a 41.56-percent stake in it. The 4.46 euro-per-share offer, in any case, was dependent upon it accepting antitrust insusceptibility and the endorsement of 500 million euros of rebuilding help from the state holding organization. It additionally pivoted upon Lufthansa’s procurement of at any rate 75-percent of its lasting democratic offers.

For North America the clock was at that point ticking, and nothing predicted its destiny more than the arrangement of obligation trips embraced to haggle new arrangements. Albeit Austrian Airlines praised the two its 20-and 40-year overseas assistance celebrations on March 26, the event was mixed, since it appeared to be improbable that it would accomplish another, at any rate not with its own staff.

Undoubtedly, during one of the soonest obligation outings to Toronto, an understanding was reached in which all activities would be accepted by Lufthansa, taking out the requirement for its representatives. It turned out to be just the first of three to be agreed upon.

Spring as a rule flagged reestablishment, however not of Austrian’s staff contracts. A subsequent Canada trip, in April, denoted the progress, with JFK Station Manager Michael Steinbuegl directing the Centralized Load Control and Duty Manager Dorit the traveler taking care of segments of it.

With the beginning of May, the first of JFK’s staff individuals likewise left. Jenner, who had been utilized as a Ticket Sales-Reservations Agent for a very long time, was laid off on account of “financial plan required decreases,” and the vacant seat close to Sidonie, top of the office, seemed like a void, representative of an unequivocally missed relative.

The destroying proceeded. Whitestone, Austrian Airlines’ North American stronghold, passed its reservations light to Lufthansa on the 10th of the next month, or what might have been viewed as the carrier adaptation of “the shopping extravaganza following Thanksgiving”

In the event that there were any questions about the mallet hitting the nail, they were killed on August 28, when the European Commission authoritatively endorsed Lufthansa’s securing, which itself comprised of 500 million euros of rebuilding help from the state holding organization and the consolidation between the two transporters. To accomplish the necessary antitrust insusceptibility, be that as it may, Lufthansa consented to give up key flight spaces and lessen the quantity of frequencies among Vienna and Brussels, Cologne, Frankfurt, Munich, and Stuttgart.

Austrian Airlines itself was scheduled to get one of its numerous free, European center point transporters for this situation, a Vienna-based one taking care of traffic to its Central and Eastern European objections.

The fall fell hard-inwardly for Austrian’s JFK staff individuals and the obligation trips, during which the attachments to its North American stations were pulled, proceeded.

Lufthansa representatives were knowledgeable in Austrian’s tagging techniques, while two supervisors withdrew traveled to Vienna to examine ground-taking care of subtleties in New York.

Affirmation of the stations’ certainty flagged its passing meadow: Lufthansa would accept all ground-taking care of later in the year and everything except the single JFK station director and its two obligation supervisors (the creator included) would be delivered from their agreements around then. Indeed, even these, notwithstanding, had half year restrictions.

What could be compared to eliminating the wing of an airplane in flight, made feelings winding to the ground, bringing about doubt and melancholy, and this was possibly exacerbated when the head of ground activities educated Swissport that its JFK agreement would be dropped on November 16.

Offering the station’s destiny to his full-time staff individuals, Patrick, Austrian Airlines-Swissport Account Manager, endeavored to pad a blow that words couldn’t accomplish.

Bitterness, demotivation, and abdication lingered palpably like thick fly exhaust.

The clock’s hand proceeded to loosen up and the normal splitting words started to channel in. Long-term Austrian Airlines Station Manager at Washington-Dulles International Airport, Regula, for example, sent the accompanying message on September 14.

“As you may have heard,” she expressed, “Lufthansa will assume control over the treatment of our station tomorrow. Accordingly, it is the ideal opportunity for me to bid farewell.

“It is difficult, as I have met a ton of extraordinary individuals during my years at Austrian Airlines and I had a chance to become familiar with a great deal. With this, I might want to thank you for all your help and companionship throughout the most recent couple of years.”

Like a short line of dominoes, Washington was the second of the three North American stations to fall.

Of whatever little worth it served, I chose for end every day by day preparation with a “bunch treatment” meeting so Austrian Airlines and Swissport workers could investigate their feelings about the forthcoming “family separation.”

On September 15, Michael Steinbuegl, JFK Station Manager for a very long time, was elevated to Key Account Manager, North America, and got liable for each of the three North American stations: New York, Toronto, and Washington.

The solitary thing anybody had now was what’s to come. The head of Ground Operations talked about the explanations for the station changes with the two leftover JFK obligation supervisors, and they in this way met with the Lufthansa Station Manager to examine expected incorporation. Patrick held a gathering with his own administration to investigate the movement of Swissport staff to other JFK accounts.

As the schedule flipped into October, one of the staff individuals noted on the washboard used to detail the day by day flight data: “Commencement: 45 days.” And in the “Notes” segment of the every day instructions sheet, I encouraged, “Grin while you actually can. The days are running out.”

Explaining the occasions, Paul Paflik, previous Area Manager of North America, stated, “Because of the financial climate, I lament that we, as an organization, had no other decision to endure except for to misuse the full cost collaborations with Lufthansa any place we could. This incorporates close collaboration at the stations around the world. It is miserable for a portion of our devoted staff, in any case, once more, we had no other decision on the off chance that we wished to get by as an organization.”

The remainder of the Austrian Airlines’ course framework similarly succumbed to this reality.

A previous JFK associate, for example, who had since worked at a few different stations, expressed, “At long last, the hatchet has come round to destroy me down also. I will leave Austrian Airlines following 20 years… It appears as though I am not, at this point required inside this Austrian ‘New Generation.’

“We strolled a 20-year way together, which has typically ended with the hotly anticipated ‘Anschluss’ we kidded about ordinarily, yet we had some way or another in every case barely kept away from. Since the inescapable has come, it implies the end for a significant number of us.

“There is an unexpected corresponding to the Star Trek adventure here. It appears to be that we, the old, unique group, have been given up in our old boat to float away far out, supplanted by Lufthansa. The great boat ‘Austrian” is gone until the end of time.

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