Lauda Air, the next carrier right after Austrian Airways itself to create a presence in Vienna, experienced a background of equally opposition and cooperation with it.
Andreas Nikolaus “Niki” Lauda, the son of a paper manufacturing facility operator, who solid a incredibly different path than his father when he gained the very first of three System 1 entire world racing championships at 26-a long time-previous, capitalized on his notoriety and invested his wealth in an airline that bore his name, Lauda Air Luftfahrt AG.
Acquiring Alpair Vienna’s charter license for ATS 5 million in April of 1979, he commenced charter and air taxi services in cooperation with Austrian Airways with two Fokker F.27 Friendships.
It speedily turned clear, having said that, that it could not coexist with incumbent Austrian in this sort of a modest household market place, and the F.27s ended up as a result leased to Egyptair.
Getting into a partnership with Greek financier Basile Varvaressos, owner of the ITAS vacation company, 6 many years afterwards, he leased two BAC-111-500s, a British twin-jet not unlike the SE.210 Caravelle and Douglas DC-9 in size, variety, and design, from Tarom Romanian Airways, expanding his fleet capacity to 208 seats in the system and working them on charter and inclusive-tour (IT) products and services to Greece and other European places.
So substantial did demand from customers turn into, even so, that it before long exceeded capability and a larger sized 737-200, this time obtained from Transavia Holland, replaced a single of the BAC-111s. Continue to later, equally types were being superseded by two even bigger-potential 737-300s, which have been operated on a steadily growing charter route network.
In Could of 1986, Lauda Air utilized to the Austrian Ministry of Transportation for a license to function scheduled global provider for the initial time. Accepted in November of the following calendar year, it signaled the conclude of Austrian Airlines’ extensive-held monopoly and a subsequently received, 235-passenger Boeing 767-300ER, that includes equally company and economy course cabins, facilitated very long-vary, intercontinental flights. The to start with, happening on May perhaps 7, 1988, consisted of a solitary weekly frequency from Vienna to Hong Kong via Bangkok. It was later supplemented by a Vienna-Bangkok-Sydney sector.
Inextricably tied to the administration of the airline that bore his name and usually taking the remaining seat of his aircraft as the pilot that he was, he sought to differentiate it and therefore entice travellers with quality, providing “Amadeus,” rather of merely “small business,” class catering his flights with delicacies from the highly esteemed DO & CO restaurant in downtown Vienna that includes triangular shaped, porcelain plates all through their in-flight company and toting it all with the slogan, “Company is our achievement.” It was.
But his signature model was expressed in many other strategies, including superior expectations of his staff members, uniforms that involved the red baseball caps and blue denims he himself wore, a mandatory flight attendant retirement age of 38, and aircraft named right after movie stars, singers, and artists, this kind of as Bob Marley, John Lennon, Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles, Elvis Preseley, Janis Joplin, Greta Garbo, Gregory Peck, Pablo Picasso, and Ernest Hemingway. A person, reflecting his have passion, by natural means bore the designation “Enzo Ferrari.”
Flamboyant, charismatic, and a racing hero who experienced also received 26 Grand Prix championships, he was possibly the Austrian equal of Richard Branson.
Filling the will need for reduce-fare, extended-haul, leisure-oriented journey, Lauda Air grew rapidly. In 1985, for instance, it carried 95,768 passengers and flew 2,522 flight several hours with 67 staff, even though in the 1st 10 months of 1987, it carried 236,730 passengers and undertook 5,364 flight several hours with 169 personnel, a 147-percent passenger increase.
By 1990, its fleet consisted of 5 plane–3 146-passenger 737-300s and two 235-passenger 767-300ERs–all of which had been operated on charter companies to Europe, Africa, and the Center and Considerably East. The scheduled routes remained these among Vienna, Bangkok, Hong Kong, and Sydney.
Subsequently earning its license for European scheduled flights on August 23, 1990–a right hence significantly only held by flag carrier Austrian–Lauda Air inaugurated assistance involving Vienna and London-Gatwick with five weekly 737-300 frequencies. But development captivated much more than passengers. It also captivated other airlines.
Simply because Lufthansa noticed its escalating presence in the Austrian current market and its East European route accessibility as potentially profitable property, it declared a advertising and marketing cooperation with Lauda Air in July of 1992, (which was initially envisioned as an offensive move in opposition to the aborted Austrian Airways, KLM, SAS, and Swissair Alcazar Alliance), sealing the settlement the subsequent January with a 26.5-percent capital enhance, by usually means of its Condor charter provider, shortly soon after which the two airways inaugurated a quad-weekly 767-300ER company to Los Angeles. “Husband or wife of Lufthansa,” marketing the arrangement, appeared on Lauda’s aircraft.
The fledgling Austrian carrier, no longer just a shadow of Austrian Airlines, was now aligned with a company considerably greater than by itself and its first, twin-aircraft fleet quickly quadrupled, now encompassing four narrow system 737s and four widebody 767s, running amongst Munich, Miami, and Los Angeles with Condor gear.
Painfully informed of competitiveness from Austrian Airlines on scheduled inter-European routes, Lauda circumvented what would have resulted in reduced 737 load components by ordering 6 50-passenger Canadair CRJ-100 Regional Jets in October of 1993 to run them.
Deployed to Barcelona, Madrid, Brussels, Geneva, Manchester, and Stockholm, they marked the start out of the summer time timetable, which grew to become successful on March 27, 1994. Singapore, which changed Bangkok in November of that 12 months, served as its new “bridge” among Vienna and Sydney/Melbourne, and the weekly 767 services was doubled. By the drop it served 11 scheduled and 42 constitution locations.
On March 26 of the adhering to year, Lauda Air established a next European hub, Milan-Malpensa, in cooperation with Lufthansa, which now held a 39.7-% stake in the fledgling provider, basing 3 of its six CRJ-100s there and operating them to Barcelona, Brussels, Dublin, Manchester, Paris, and Vienna. The Canadair Regional Jets, together with an increasing quantity of 737s, became the spine of its European fleet.
Its data were rarely embarrassments. Without a doubt, it carried 1.5 million passengers in 1995, a important proportion of whom furnished business enterprise course produce, and used 1,200 by the adhering to yr.
It quickly come to be evident, however, that pending European deregulation was not likely to tolerate dozen-plane airlines except they served extremely small, precise market niches. Lauda Air had been unable to survive in the confront of competitiveness from Austrian Airlines once ahead of. Due to the fact each operated medium- and extended-variety, twin-motor aircraft from bases in Vienna and offered considerable passenger service high quality, cooperation concerning the two grew to become inescapable.
Not amazingly, it experienced by now been partially consummated in June of 1996, when Austrian Airways and Lauda Air operated single-plane, dual-code flights to Awesome, Milan, and Rome with the Regional Jet for the initial time.
On March 12, 1997, however, this was expanded, when the tri-provider Austrian Airways Team, comprised of Austrian Airlines itself, Lauda Air, and Tyrolean Airways, was fashioned, each individual operating within just its very own specialized niche, based mostly on its knowledge, strengths, and plane styles. The previous, for instance, remained the flag provider on scheduled medium- and lengthy-vary sectors, while Tyrolean served domestic and regional markets with turboprop and pure-jet airliners. Lauda Air, although in the beginning retaining its scheduled Asian and Australian flights, now principally focused on leisure-oriented charter places.
Nevertheless, on September 24 of that calendar year, it took shipping of its 2nd widebody plane type, the 777-200, which it inaugurated into company on the Vienna-Singapore-Sydney-Melbourne route the subsequent month, replacing the venerable 767.
Two decades later on, all three Austrian Airlines Group carriers declared their intention of joining the Star Alliance as a collective total and this turned productive on March 26, 2000 at which time Niki Lauda relinquished his position as main government officer.
As the reduce-price arm within just the 3-airline team, Lauda furnished medium- and extensive-vary scheduled and charter support on leisure-oriented routes with a four-kind, 22-aircraft fleet, protecting its very own identification.
But in 2004, the initial techniques toward integration with the Austrian Airlines brand happened with the ratification of a joint Austrian-Lauda Air cockpit crew contract, and plane OE-LAE develop into the initially of 4 767-300s to be repainted in Austrian Airways livery, introducing a new inside shade plan and a 24-seat business and 230-seat financial state course configuration. Lauda Air itself reverted to a solitary-course, large-density charter carrier within the group, working a slim entire body fleet of Boeing 737s and Airbus A-320s.
All over its record, it experienced operated five basic pure-jet plane types, including 12 CRJ-100s, which have been in the long run operated by or marketed to Austrian Arrows, Tyrolean Airways, Lufthansa CityLine, and Air Littoral. It also flew almost all versions of the Boeing 737, inclusive of the one 737-200 leased from Transavia Holland at the beginning of its climb, three 737-300s, 3 737-400s, two 737-600s, two 737-700s, and 7 737-800s, generally operating specified frequencies to destinations these as London-Heathrow together with Austrian Airlines’ A-320-200s or A-321-100/200s at other situations. It also flew two of the A-320s itself.
Of its exclusively Boeing widebody aircraft, it operated up to 11 767-300ERs at one time or yet another, which bore registrations OE-LAE, -LAS, -LAT, -LAU, -LAV, -Regulation, -LAX, -LAY, and -LAZ. Two also sported French registrations. Aircraft OE-LAV was concerned in the inexplicable thrust reverser deployment incident in excess of Thailand in 1991, which resulted in the loss of all 213 travellers and 10 crew members on board.
Three 777-200ERs have been also operated, registered OE-LPA, -LPB, and -LPC. These, together with six 767s, have been finally flown by father or mother Austrian Airways in its very own colours and replaced its prolonged-assortment Airbus A-330 and A-340 fleet.
Entirely folded into Austrian, on the other hand, Lauda Air ceased to exist on July 1, 2012.
Whilst Niki Lauda himself appeared to have disappeared from the airline scene with his namesake carrier, his hiatus was transient. Forming a different reduced-fare, quick- to medium-assortment, inter-European airline, Fly Niki, he operated seven 112-seat Embraer E-190s, three 150-seat Airbus A-319s (in Air Berlin shades, of which it turned a subsidiary), and nine 180-seat Airbus A-320-200s, carrying five million travellers that year and turning into Vienna’s next-biggest primarily based operator, the moment yet again giving levels of competition and downward yield pressure for incumbent Austrian Airlines.
All matters do, indeed, start out again.