Austrian Airlines (OS, Vienna) has said in a press release that it will strengthen its cooperation with fellow Lufthansa Group member Eurowings (EW, Düsseldorf Int'l) by taking over most of the LCC's flights from Vienna and wet-leasing four aircraft from it.

Eurowings will start basing four Airbus narrowbodies out of Vienna on behalf of Austrian Airlines as of January 1, 2020. All flights operated by the LCC on behalf of Austrian Airlines will be handled in the airport's Terminal 3 and will be coordinated by the Austrian carrier. It is understood that Austrian Airlines will take over all services currently operated by Eurowings Europe from Vienna (mostly to leisure destinations) with the exception of routes to Germany.

Eurowings will maintain its own services to Vienna from Düsseldorf Int'l, Hanover, Hamburg Helmut Schmidt, Stuttgart Manfred Rommel, and Cologne/Bonn, operating them out of the German bases and to Vienna's Terminal 1.

The German LCC will also expand its capacity at Salzburg and Innsbruck. At the former airport, it will grow its existing base to three Airbus narrowbodies, while from the latter it will focus on expanding charter flights to leisure destinations.

"We are changing our flight formation. Austrian will strengthen the Vienna hub, Eurowings will cover the flanks and consistently focus on the important point-to-point business. Accordingly, we not only want to consolidate the pole position of the Lufthansa Group in Austria but jointly expand it further," Managing Director of Eurowings Europe Robert Jahn said.

According to the ch-aviation capacities module, Austrian Airlines and Eurowings are currently the two largest operators at Vienna airport. The Austrian flag carrier has a 46% market share by capacity, while the LCC adds a further 7.8%. The Austrian gateway has recently become a battlefield for European LCCs with Ryanair subsidiary Lauda, Wizz Air, and IAG International Airlines Group's Anisec Luftfahrt (operating under the LEVEL brand) all expanding their capacity from Vienna.