• Franz Fischler: “Alpbach now has a flying ambassador“
• Austrian Airlines expands regional fleet from 14 to 18 aircraft
At the end of 2014, Austrian Airlines expanded its regional fleet by four aircraft to a total of 18. One of the four turboprops of the Dash 8-Q400 family of aircraft with the registration OE-LGP was christened with the name “Spirit of Alpbach” at Innsbruck-Kranebitten Airport this morning. The godfather was the former EU Commissioner and Austrian Minister of Agriculture Franz Fischler in his capacity as the President of the European Forum Alpbach.
The so-called “Festival of Ideas” will celebrate its 70th birthday in 2015. “I am very pleased with the birthday present by Austrian Airlines, our longstanding partner. The European Forum Alpbach now has its own flying ambassador. May all its passengers take home many new ideas and perspectives with them”, says Fischler.
“All of the four aircraft have been intentionally given names from Tyrol“, adds Austrian Airlines CEO Jaan Albrecht. The fleet expansion not only strengthens the entire Austrian Airlines Group, but also the Innsbruck site as the specialist for turboprop aircraft. Close to 300 employees work at the Innsbruck facility.
The initial flight of the “Spirit of Alpbach” took place in November on behalf of Swiss International Airlines (SWISS), which also belongs to the Lufthansa Group. On the basis of this small step in its expansion, the fleet of the Austrian Airlines Group increased to a total of 80 aircraft. The original value of this type of airplane amounts to USD 25-30 million. However, the parties agreed not to disclose details about the actual purchase price of the used aircraft.
The Bombardier Q-Series is particularly reliable and efficient due to its design. ‘Turboprops’ are often wrongly seen as an outdated technology, but in reality the Dash 8-Q400 is a state-of-the-art aircraft. Compared to passenger jets with the same seating capacity, the Dash requires about 40% less fuel thanks to its propeller-driven technology, and thus also reduces CO₂ emissions. Incidentally, the “Q” stands for “quiet“. A sophisticated system ensures that the noise and vibrations caused by the propellers are suppressed. This aircraft type is also capable of reaching airports where larger aircraft are not able or allowed to land.
The OE-LGP ‘Spirit of Alpbach’ aircraft will bear the Star Alliance livery. Austrian Airlines and SWISS are both part of this global network of international airlines.