Austrian Airlines will repay another €30 million ($34 million) in state loans received during the COVID-19 pandemic, the carrier announced on December 29, 2021.
The Austrian flag carrier, part of Lufthansa Group, had already repaid a first loan instalment of €30 million in July 2021.
That means that by the end of 2021, it will have repaid €60 million ($68 million) from the €300 million ($338 million) state loan. The loan is due to be repaid in half-yearly instalments by 2026.
“Without the support of the Austrian Federal Government and other stakeholders, the continuance of Austrian Airlines as such would not have been possible,” board member Michael Trestl commented in the press release. “We are proud that we have already repaid a fifth of our financial aid and that we are fulfilling our responsibilities as promised.”
After the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Austrian Airlines received aid totalling €600 million in June 2020. Along with the €300 million state-guaranteed loan, it received €150 million ($169 million) from parent Lufthansa Group, plus €150 million from the Austrian state in damages.
However, after initial signs of recovery, air travel in Europe has been hit by further travel restrictions after another wave of COVID-19 infections as the region moved into winter. Austria even introduced a full lockdown for two weeks in December in a bid to halt rising cases.
The emergence of the Omicron variant has also added to travel restrictions across the region, dampening travel demand and prompting airlines, including Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) and Ryanair, to cut back on capacity plans.
Trestl from Austrian Airlines commented that the airline had already repaid one-fifth of the state loan. “All of this in spite of the fact that the pandemic is going on longer than we all hoped,” the manager added.