After the green light from Brussels for state aid, Austrian Airlines is thinking about settling debts with customers and travel agencies more quickly. The company has been criticized for several weeks due to the delaying tactic.
For several months now, Austrian Airlines has been involved in the reimbursement of tickets that could not be used due to the corona pandemic and the associated temporary suspension of flight operations. The company's behavior even made it into politics, as Tourism Minister Elisabeth Köstinger repeatedly asked Austrian Airlines to meet their obligations.
Now that the state aid has been approved by the EU Commission, the Lufthansa subsidiary addresses the public in a press release and promises an “accelerated payment of ticket refunds”. The carrier would actually have had to make the payments within seven days, but the entire industry was not particularly careful.
“The global corona pandemic has presented aviation with unprecedented challenges. Our colleagues in the service centers are working flat out to process all inquiries and applications. The payment of reimbursements in the millions is currently being commissioned every week, which corresponds to several thousand tickets. At this point in time, 40 percent of all applications have already been processed, ”explains Austrian Airlines CCO Andreas Otto. “We are aware that the current situation is unsatisfactory for our passengers. We're sorry about that. Every passenger who has requested a refund will get their money back ”.
The fact that Austrian Airlines is also deep in the chalk with sales partners such as travel agencies also caused displeasure among politicians. Tourism Minister Elisabeth Köstinger repeatedly asked the company to pay off the debts. Andreas Otto now explains: “We have increased all available capacities to the maximum. In the meantime, around two thirds of all travel agency bookings have been refunded ”.