VIENNA (Reuters) - Austrian Airlines has begun its switch from Boeing 737 to Airbus 320 planes for medium-haul flights, it said on Friday, as it streamlines its fleet as part of an accelerated restructuring under owner Lufthansa.
The loss-making airline said it had signed a letter of intent for five A320s and had already taken delivery of another two, and expected the first of the new fleet to be in service by mid-October 2012.
Austrian Airlines is implementing deep cost cuts as the price of Lufthansa's support for its fleet upgrade, and hopes to return to profit this year.
The Austrian flag-carrier said having an homogenous fleet for medium-haul flights would save on costs for maintenance, spare parts and training.
Austrian Airlines wants to have the fleet of seven Airbus 320s in service by the summer 2013 season, and will start withdrawing the Boeing 737-800s in parallel. It has already sold four Boeing 737s, it said on Friday.
The airline has a fleet of 81 planes in total, including 10 Boeings for long-haul flights, and a mix of Bombardier Dash BBDb.T and Fokker planes for short-haul routes. (Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Mike Nesbit)