Today is a special milestone for Austrian Airlines as the carrier celebrates its 60th birthday.
On 31 March 1958, a red-and-white Vickers Viscount aircraft, OE-LAD, took off bearing the new airline’s name on a flight to London.
To celebrate, there was an extensive program of events for the invited guests including cocktail receptions, dinners and city tours. In Vienna there was also an evening spent at the State Opera, where Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” was performed.
The inaugural flight turned into a major success. In addition to numerous congratulatory letters sent by invited guests and representatives of international airlines, a newspaper report praised the “Viennese smile” and the “warm hospitality” on board. The aircraft was British, but the atmosphere was Austrian, according to an article appearing in the newspaper “Neues Österreich” on July 6, 1958.
Here is some footage (in German) of the first flight, showing the Viscount.
As well as London, Austrian Airlines’ first destinations included Frankfurt, Paris, Rome, Warsaw and Zurich.
“In 1958 Austrian Airlines had four chartered Vickers Viscount aircraft and six destinations in its flight schedule”, explains Austrian Airlines CEO Kay Kratky. “60 years later, Austrian Airlines has a fleet of 82 jets and offers a global route network to about 130 destinations. This is a history, the company can be proud of.”
Today Austrian Airlines operates a fleet of medium and long-haul aircraft to worldwide destinations out of its Vienna Airport base. Its fleet includes:
- Airbus A319
- Airbus A320
- Airbus A321
- Boeing 767-300ER
- Boeing 777-200ER
- Bombardier Q400
- Embraer 195
The Fokker 70 and 100 fleets were recently withdrawn.
As a part of the Lufthansa Group, it enjoys partnership and cooperation on many of its services.
Congratulations to Austrian Airlines!