1. Return to Kennedy International Airport:
Austrian Airlines opened New York in the second decade after the initial but unsuccessful transatlantic flight service-April 1, 1969, joint operations with Sabena Belgian World Airways, Boeing 707-320 registered as OE- The LBA made a stopover in Brussels. On March 26, 1989, the Airbus A-310-300 sports registration number OE-LAA returned to the United States. The conference not only introduced intercontinental services to its route system, but also provided the fleet with the first wide-body aircraft in a three-class cabin configuration. Unlike previous attempts, this attempt proved to be successful, but it marked the beginning of another two decades of resilience, which was comprised of numerous aircraft types, airline alliances and strategies, terminals, moving companies and computers The system is flat. This is its story.
2. JFK International Airport Evolution:
The initial training was held on February 6, 1989, the first six weeks of the inaugural flight, at the Austrian Airlines North American headquarters in Whitestone, New York, and was taught by Peter "Luigi" Huebner. Its courses include "Passenger Handling I" and "Adios Sign-In" courses.
Austrian Airlines' first location at JFK, the east wing of the international arrivals building, which no longer exists, is a facility shared with Icelandair, including five Austrian-specific check-in counters, equipped with computers, and automatic boarding passes Printer and laser scanner luggage tag printer, and upper Icelandair Saga Lounge used together.
The company's employees are all hired and trained by Austrians and wear uniforms, and its staff performs all ground operations functions: passenger service, ticket sales-booking, lost and found, load control, management, supervision and management, while Icelandair's People are on the ramp to oversee aircraft maintenance and loading of luggage, cargo and mail.
However, the success of the operation depended on the equipment it served, and only the Airbus Industries decided to provide its iconic A-300 version with a shorter fuselage and smaller capacity, which enabled the A-310's transatlantic operation. .
This remote, twin-engine, wide-body design, and concurrent technology can provide the same range and dual-channel comfort as comparable four-engine 747 or three-engine DC-10 and L-1011, but at the same time provide reduced capacity to promote full Profitable operations. Due to the size of the Austrian market, the larger 747, DC-10 or L-1011 will be losing money outside the summer tourist season. Any other long-range aircraft, including the Boeing 707 and the McDonnell Douglas DC-8 at that time, were based on the older generation of the early 1960s, fuel-hungry four-engine first-stage technology, and were therefore banned. Unless silently installed or completely modified by the engine, they will be in service in the United States. Austrian Airlines' A-310 makes the Vienna-New York route long and thin.
The initial schedule of 1989 provided six weekly frequencies in summer and five frequencies in winter, when two A-310-300s served New York and Tokyo, with the latter having an intermediate station in Moscow . In addition, they have extended long-distance routes, such as routes to Tel Aviv, Istanbul and Tehran.
During the first six months of JFK operation, the aircraft never experienced significant delays due to dispatch, resulting in excellent on-time performance.
In-flight services naturally account for a large portion of airline spending. As a result, many operators are beginning to reduce this cost to reduce costs. However, Austrian Airlines still maintains a unique position in the World Highlands, featuring snacks and paper cups, offering printed menus, convenience packages, Chinese services, free alcoholic beverages and headphones in the cabin of its transatlantic flights to and from Vienna.
However, due to the short fuselage of the A-310 and the limited cargo space on the lower deck, the forward compartment usually accommodates the luggage unit loading device (ULD), while the cargo itself is at the stern, which is usually limited to two pallets and One AKE unit.
Although the New York-Vienna passenger load factor was initially low, it continued to grow steadily until most flights were fully loaded. Large-scale tour groups and prospective transit passengers who are able to use the ever-expanding hub of Vienna are becoming an increasingly large proportion of passengers. When a passenger chooses to fly with them and establish a connection at their home airport, this is the ultimate proof to the carrier, not a direct flight to the national carrier.
As a "second attempt" across the Atlantic, Austrian Airlines' A-310 intercontinental service to New York was ultimately successful.
After Austrian Airlines purchased the third A-310-300 aircraft registered as OE-LAC, it considered to provide services to the second portal of the United States before the spring of 1991, such as flying to Los Angeles, but the A-310-300 The flight time of 11 hours ruled out this reality. Although Chicago is also considered, because O'Hare Airlines is its second largest hub, the United States' uninterrupted Boeing 767-200ER service provided to Vienna will lead to extremely fierce competition, while Washington Dulles Airport is the only feasible s Choice.
For Continental Europe, a higher gross McDonnell Douglas MD-83 was ordered in 1991, and several existing MD-81s have been converted to this standard, increasing range and payload capacity. Two other Fokker F.50s have also been ordered for domestic and slim international routes.
During the five years from 1989 to 1994, Austrian Airlines operated independently at JFK International Airport, providing up to 4 flights per week in winter and up to 7 flights per week in summer.
3. Delta Air Code Sharing:
Changing market conditions have prompted JFK to adapt its strategy to Austrians. Seeking an alliance with a domestic airline to obtain feed for its transatlantic flights, for example, it reached a marketing agreement with Delta in 1994, placing its two-letter "OS" code on Delta-operated Flights, and Delta has assigned its "DL" code to Austrian Airlines. Initially, two Delta Airlines attendants, wearing their company uniforms, also served in A-310 cabins to and from Vienna.
Despite the slow realization of the financial benefits of the concept, the aircraft eventually achieved a high load factor, transporting Austrian and Delta passengers from approximately two dozen cities in the United States to New York, and then to Vienna, often travelling beyond the itinerary.
In order to reduce ground handling costs and obtain synergies between airlines, Austrian Airlines moved its operations to Delta Terminal 1A (later renamed Terminal 2) on July 1, 1994, retaining only the original Nine of the 21 staff members. Delta Air Lines is a newly appointed ground handling carrier that assumes the responsibilities of arrival, lost and found, passenger boarding, gates, apron and luggage room, while Austrian Airlines itself continues to carry out ticketing and loading on its own Control, administration, supervision and management functions.
1994 also marked the acquisition of two long-range four-engine A-340-200s, which were configured for 36 business passengers and 227 economy class passengers, respectively, and registered OE-LAG and OE-LAH. For the next ten years, they regularly served New York.
Another change three years later occurred between February 1997 and 1998, when it moved its check-in counters and operations offices to Delta Terminal 3, but remained in the same marketing alliance.
This year also marks the first maturity of the transatlantic route to New York, enough to support a second takeoff on a specific date in the summer timetable. This additional flight will arrive in 2045 and restart in 2205. Usually operated by an OE-LAC aircraft, this is an A-310 with reduced business volume but larger economy class capacity, which facilitates noon liners departing from Vienna.
4. Atlantic Excellence Award:
On March 1, 1998, Austrian Airlines once again succumbed to the reorganization required by airlines to deregulate and tried to achieve further cost reduction synergies, so it combined its operations of Kennedy International Airlines with Sabina Belgian World Airlines and Switzerland The amalgamation of aviation forms the three carriers Atlantic Alliance of Excellence. Although the employees of the three airlines still wear their respective uniforms, they use the joint check-in facilities of Austrian Airlines, Sabina Airlines and Swissair, are operated by a single passenger service and load control office, and handle each other's flights.
During the summer peak, seven daily flights operated by four airlines are provided, including two flights to Vienna with Austrian Airlines, two flights to Brussels to Delta and Sabina Airport, one flight Swissair flights to Geneva, two Zurich flights to Swissair.
Eight functions were performed at the Atlantic Excellence station, including control, pitstop, departure, VIP / special services, ticket booking, load control, apron supervision and troubleshooting. Due to the signing of the Swissair contract, a worksheet was prepared for the Malev-Hungarian Airlines flight to Budapest, so the load control function itself needs to handle six types of aircraft: 747-300, A-340-200 /- 300, MD-11, A-330- 200s, 767-200ER and A-310-300s-usually require carrier training courses.
As in the single case of Austrian Airlines, Delta also entered into a mutually beneficial two-letter code-sharing agreement with Sabana Airlines and Swissair, but now, at Delta ’s mature Kennedy International Aviation hub, the former ’s marketing arrangements Has achieved full alliance status. Despite this, Delta continues to provide ramp and luggage compartment functionality to all three Atlantic excellence airlines.
In August of the same year, Austrian Airlines received the first of four long-range, higher-capacity A-330-200s, registered OE-LAM, and deployed 30 business and 235 economy class passengers, eventually replacing A -310-300 is the main horse of Intercontinental. These four aircraft were later equipped with a reduced 24-seat business class when the concept of "Taipan" was introduced, with registration numbers OE-LAM, OE-LAN, OE-LAO and OE-LAP.
In the summer 1998 schedule, Austrian Airlines deployed its first two-plane aircraft from JFK International Airport. The first was officially operated by the A-330 and the second was officially operated by the A-310.
5. Star Alliance:
Although a final "Swiss solution" was envisaged, under which all Atlantic Excellence ground operations staff would be reassigned to a service provider, but it never happened.
Rumors, such as gentle warnings of an impending storm, rumblingly spread inside the station, and by mid-1999 the atmosphere was permeated. A new strategy appears to be on the horizon. Its seeds are planted long before flowering. It is multifaceted and includes everything.
In June 1999, Delta Air Lines and Air France formed the basis of a new global alliance, which was later named SkyTeam, which dissolved the 25-month Austria / Delta / Sabina / Swissair Atlantic The Alliance of Excellence, which reached an agreement without negotiation, will expire in August 2000.
Despite the 10% investment limit, Swissair is still trying to buy additional Austrian Airlines stocks, which exceeds Austrian Airlines' goal of maintaining its identity and independence and forcing it to withdraw from the European Carrier Qualification Alliance led by Swissair.
Swissair and Sabena have formed a joint business management structure, which once again proves that they run counter to the independent direction of Austrian Airlines.
Finally, in early 2000, Sabana Airlines and Swissair both reached a code-sharing agreement with American Airlines, a camp in the American aviation industry that runs counter to Austrian Airlines' US feed strategy.
As a small but profitable international airline, Austrian Airlines still needs to establish a global alliance to remain profitable, so it has reached a membership agreement with Lufthansa and the co-led Star Alliance, which was signed on March 26, 2000 Take effect.
The largest and longest operating alliances are Air Canada, Air New Zealand, ANA, Australian Jet, Austrian Airlines, British Midland Airlines, Lauda Airlines, Lufthansa, Mexicana Airlines, SAS, Thai Airways International, Tiro In total, United, and Varig carry 23% of global passenger traffic. But more importantly, the decision promotes continued independent identity and operations, but there is still potential for expansion. Out of emotional expression, the decision was declared: "We are here to grow again!"
Starting in January 2000, the transition from Atlantic Excellence to Star Alliance requires four holistic changes.
1). New IT (information technology) systems and more frequent flight procedures.
2). Business moves to the new terminal, passenger service office, passenger check-in counters, load-control aircraft dispatch center, and gates at JFK International Airport.
3) New Union Airlines code-share flights and traffic caused the closure of Atlanta Station, followed by the opening of Chicago Chicago Airport and the reopening of Washington Washington Airport.
4). Company-wide migration training in Upper Oberla, Austria, home of Austrian Airlines headquarters.
Star Alliance membership again moved to Terminal 1 at JFK International Airport, which prompted a change at another carrier, this time from Delta to Lufthansa, and now Lufthansa performs baggage services and passenger boarding Formal functions, while Austrian Airlines continues to act in its capacity as arrival, ticketing, load control, apron supervision and management. Under a reciprocal agreement, the company also provides these passenger services for Lufthansa's own departure from Frankfurt during non-business hours. The aircraft's loading and luggage compartment functions were initially performed by Hudson General and later renamed GlobeGround North America.
To further reduce costs, Austrian Airlines moved to a smaller, low-cost passenger services office on the first floor of Terminal 1 in September 2002, when Lufthansa gained a load control / apron supervision function. No longer serving Lufthansa, the number of Austrian staff has been further reduced, and it is now reduced to six full-time and two part-time positions, with daily working hours reduced from nine to eight hours.
Austria's largest-capacity aircraft A-340-300 can service JFK International Airport intermittently, with a capacity of 30 business passengers and 261 economy class passengers, especially in the summer 2002 schedule, the flight is scheduled for Saturday Departure later. Two such aircraft, registered as OE-LAK and OE-LAL, now form part of the fleet.
6. Port of Switzerland, USA:
The need for continued cost reductions resulted in a change to another processing company at JFK on January 1, 2003, when most ground services were transferred from Lufthansa to Swissport, USA.
To prepare for this change, Swissport passenger service staff took a Guide Check-In course in Vienna last month, and a Swissport agent in charge of the baggage services department took a World Tracer Basic course in late October of that year.
Swissport employees wear Austrian Airlines uniforms and are responsible for arrival, lost and found, check-in, boarding gate, loading control and apron supervision functions, while Austrian Airlines itself continues to assume responsibility for ticket sales, management, supervision and management.
Load control was initially performed using the Swissair DCS system in Terminal 4. After the Swissport operators completed a computerized load control course in Vienna in March, they eventually moved to Terminal 1 and the Lufthansa WAB system .
7. North American training program:
Since most Swissport agents had no previous airline experience and were unfamiliar with Austrian Airlines products and procedures, the authors drafted course descriptions, wrote textbooks, designed quizzes and exams, taught the courses themselves, and created a local training program. , And then issue training certificates to prepare them more fully.
The program dates back to the course of the Austrian Airline Passenger Handling Course created in 1989 and the introductory Load Control training material written in 1998, and later developed into a fully functional North American training program based on aircraft, systems, procedures, and Alliance changes include four complete courses: "Initial Passenger Service", "Ramp Supervision Certification", "Load Control Licensing" and "Airline Management".
Eventually included 27 passenger services, ramp supervision, load control, air cargo and airline site management procedures and training manuals, two site history, and 28 courses, which resulted in the teaching of Delta by Austrian Airlines and the Austrian Airlines operating airline Delta 63 Courses, Lufthansa, Passenger Handling Services / Maca, SAS, Servair and Swissport, are located in eight North American stations in Atlanta, Cancun, Chicago, Montreal, New York, Punta Cana, Toronto and Washington.
The program quickly evolved into the equivalent of an "airline university" and is often cited as a reason for Swissport employees eager to transfer to an Austrian Airlines account. The program has played an important role in their career path, promoting their promotion or Accepted by other airlines.
8. Boeing and Lauda Airlines fly to JFK Airport:
To date, JFK has been exclusively served by Austrian Airlines and its fleet of A-310, A-330 and A-340 Airbus widebody aircraft, which was first operated by the regularly scheduled Lauda Air 767 in the summer of 2004 This was Niki Lauda, an airline car driver founded by Formula One, and was considered a competitor of Austrian Airlines in its early history. But in the second year, its frequency quadrupled, and in 2007 it completely replaced the 17-year Airbus service.
In the summer of 2004, Lauda 767 complemented Austria's daily flights in the 11 weeks from June 26 to September 5. It was originally scheduled to arrive at 2055 on Saturday evening and depart at 2200 on Sunday about 25 hours later.
To prepare for additional services at the gas station, a Boeing 767 passenger service and a Boeing 767 load control course were created and taught to Swissport staff.
Since Lufthansa's technical staff did not hold a 767 license, maintenance work has been contracted with Delta Air Lines, which operates the three -200, -300, and -400 series 767 aircraft and pushes them in Extensive nighttime parking and security procedures were previously performed to return to the hard seat of Terminal 1, at which time security seals were added to all access doors. Wash unloaded kitchen equipment and prepare for the next night.
Because the aircraft could accommodate 36 passengers on the Amadeus class at that time, it was difficult to sell delayed take-off cargo in business class without extensive promotions and reduced fares, limiting the pallet loading size to four positions in the front cabin. The aircraft itself was operated in Lauda Air and Star Alliance equipment.
In the summer 2005 schedule (from June 14 to September 2), the 767-300 provided up to 4 additional shifts per week for a total of 11 shifts, of which the A-330 operated according to the standard, early Take off, while the 767-300 operates as an evening shift.
By 2007, this type completely replaced the A-330 and A-340 fleets, but several configurations appeared. For example, the planes OE-LAE, -LAY and -LAZ can seat 36 people on a business jet, while economy class can seat 189 people, while registered OE-LAX and -LAW planes can seat 30 and 200 seats, respectively. The aircraft OE-LAT offers the highest capacity of the six aircraft, with ten more seats than the last two aircraft, and can accommodate 240 passengers.
9. Centralized load control:
In the second half of 2006, Kennedy International Airport introduced a concept known as the "Centralized Load Control" (CLC) system, which, like an atomic nucleus, became the core of it all.
At the time, the idea of Michael Steinbuegl, manager of the Kennedy International Airport's New York office, followed the trend set by Swiss International New York, Cape Town Lufthansa, and Bangkok SAS. The procedure originated from an early investigation project. Among them are explored ways to reduce costs in Vienna, a large, single centralized load control department or several regional agencies. However, the latter brings language and time zone barriers.
He has been a former aircraft handling manager and has accumulated extensive experience in creating operating procedures and methods, and is therefore proficient in weight and balance issues.
In order to apply this knowledge while trying to correct the system incompatibility and communication difficulties encountered in Washington's SAS-Bangkok arrangement, he first resolved the radio station, which, like JFK, already uses the Lufthansa WAB system. In the process, he made several business trips to establish site-compatible procedures and then drafted detailed manuals on those procedures, setting the course for many transitions. The first concentrated load chart for the Washington flight, OS 094, was created on November 1, 2006.
Charlie Schreiner, then the head of Austrian Air Cargo Controls, then commemorated the occasion by sending the following telex.
He wrote: "Using Austrian Airlines flight OS 094 on November 1st, our first-line station has been connected by ULD aircraft to the conventional centralized load control process. All activities involve flight preparation, load planning, ULD coordination and WAB yesterday, our Kennedy International Airport Station has successfully controlled the system files, including the load meter passed to the cockpit via ACAR. "
However, the rest of the CLC plan involves a phased implementation. In May of the following year, service resumed from Chicago. Because it can now be regarded as a "new" station, logically, its load meter will be integrated into the CLC system from the beginning. Although the computer system is different, it was modified on May 29 after the program was modified. Japan conducted its first test flight and successfully adjusted it.
After the cities were handled by JFK, JFK decided to consolidate the last North American station, Toronto, which issued its first centralized load meter on July 1.
Three Austrian Airlines dedicated load controllers from Swissport, two of which worked on a certain day during the summer peak season, formed a centralized load control system team.
Since the integration of the fourth station, JFK has produced approximately 120 load sheets per month, and the very successful system has produced many benefits.
First, it saves a lot of money. All flights are scheduled to take off on time according to their loading plans and manifests, while all four North American flights are operationally more than the daily load controller used by JFK for a single takeoff. Lufthansa's WAB system also generates additional load instruction reports and load tables, giving Vienna immediate access to all data and documents related to load control.
10. Boeing 777:
When Austrian Airlines flipped through its 2008-2009 winter timetable on March 29, Kennedy International Airport first deployed the Boeing 777-200ER aircraft, the airline's largest aircraft and the fifth largest aircraft after the A-310. Basic aircraft -330, A-340 and 767 in service in New York.
The aircraft was originally purchased by Lauda Air and can accommodate 49 business class and 258 bus passengers, but the two later examples have a higher gross weight and a modified passenger arrangement that can accommodate 260 One economy class passenger, ten of whom are tied for three or four, are configured.
In the six months from April to September 2009, the number of passengers traveling in and out of single flights was 34% higher than the same period of the previous year when 767 was used, and the number of cargo and mail installations also increased significantly. Four 777s in the fleet are registered as OE-LPA, OE-LPB, OE-LPC and OE-LPD.
11. Lufthansa's acquisition:
For both the local and the entire system, 2009 was a crucial year for Austrian Airlines. Due to the global economic downturn, rising fuel prices, declining yields and fierce competition from low-cost carriers in Western Europe, although previous strategies included the sale of the A-330 and A-340 fleets, reducing their long-haul route systems and implementing several reorganizations plan. By reaching an agreement with Lufthansa-Germany, its savior can continue to operate as it assumes debt and acquires a majority stake.
On August 28, the European Commission officially approved the acquisition of Austrian Airlines by Lufthansa. The strategy, which includes the 500 million euros required for the reorganization of the holding company and the merger of the two airlines, paved the way for Austrians to integrate it into Lufthansa by September. However, in order to obtain the required antitrust immunity, Lufthansa itself must agree to abandon major flight locations and reduce the number of flight services between Vienna and Brussels, Cologne, Frankfurt, Munich and Stuttgart.
For Austrian Airlines, which will be one of Lufthansa's several independent European hub operators, it marks a financial survival, an improved economic foundation, cost synergies (such as the joint purchase of fuel and aircraft) and access to Lufthansa's extensive international Sales and shipping network signals. The establishment of Vienna as a high-performance transportation hub to provide transportation services for its new owner's dense Central and Eastern European route system is considered to be Austria's strength in this system.
Because of this ownership, many fundamental changes have taken place in North America.
For example, in Toronto and Washington, Lufthansa takes on all aspects of ground affairs.
In New York, more than half of employees at Whitestone's North American headquarters have been fired, and nearly a quarter of a century of facilities on the fifth floor of the Octagon Square and considered to be its "fortress" have been closed. The remaining employees moved to Lufthansa's East Meadow Meadows office on Long Island.
At the JFK International Airport itself, Austrian Air Cargo also transferred to Lufthansa's facilities on November 1, and 16 days later, Swissport passed the ground torch to Lufthansa-German Airlines.
The manager of that station, Michael Steinbuegl, was promoted to North America's key account manager, but when Lufthansa assumed these positions, four ticket sales-reservations were cut, reducing Austrian Airlines' staff to just one. Two people, they received a limited six-month contract that expired on May 15, 2010. They intermittently incorporate Lufthansa's operations and schedules, they handle flights and familiarize Lufthansa employees with their own procedures, but after this transition period, they are on average fired from work
Austrian Airlines ’last" red unified presence ", whether represented by purely Austrian Airlines or Swissport employees, took place on November 15th, in the office on the first floor of Terminal 1, and is still managed by the company, passenger services Three centrally loaded "home" Lufthansa facilities were cancelled with control, ticketing, booking and baggage service / lost and found offices, two of which were on duty manager stations on the main floor, one of which was reserved for large Account manager positions at lower levels of the station operations office
Everything seems to be in full loop. The incident effectively ended Austrian Airlines' 21-year history of autonomous operations, marking the airline's return to the merger with Lufthansa in 1938 and arrangements for ground handling at Kennedy International Airport in 2000.
12. Advantages of JFK:
In 2009, Austrian Airlines operated 666 inbound and outbound flights at JFK International Airport, carrying 158,267 inbound and outbound passengers, an increase of 18.42% over the same period of the previous year. During these 7 days, the airline operated 5,005 inbound and outbound flights, carrying a total of 1,074,642 Travelers. During the one-year period from 2003 to 2009, Swissport started its own business there.
Kennedy (JFK), after 21 years of operations, has gone through multiple airline alliances, terminal locations, computer systems, loading and unloading companies, aircraft types, and the declining work of Austrian aviation personnel, and has actually closed it The gate, which is its last resident in North America, has already done so.
In the past two years, the company has processed a total of five aircraft: Airbus A-310, Airbus A-330, Airbus A-340, Boeing 767 and Boeing 777; four strategies have been adopted-initial, Independent operations; Delta Air Lines code-sharing agreement; Three aircraft carrier Atlantic Excellence Station; and Star Alliance integration; four terminals at JFK International Airport-Terminal 1, Terminal 2, Terminal 3 The building and the International Arrivals building are operated; handled by three companies-Delta Air Lines, Lufthansa-German Airlines and Swissport, USA; and two computer systems are used.
With the talents and abilities of many of its employees being used to produce creative and innovative results in the last chapter of its founding, Kennedy has achieved several achievements, some of which have made it increasingly important in North America Role. They can be broken down as follows.
The North American station training program consisting of passenger service, ramp supervision certification, load control permitting and management disciplines has played an important role in the education preparation of all entry-level employees, enabling them to have sufficient procedural knowledge or climb the ladder all the way to management, if so needed. The textbooks and courses were subsequently used to duplicate this success at Austrian Airlines & # 39; other North American stations.
The Centralized Load Control (CLC) Department, entailing the preparation of loading instruction / reports and load sheets for the four North American stations of Chicago, New York, Toronto, and Washington, was highly successful and once involved four aircraft types: the Boeing 767 , the Airbus A-330, the Airbus A-340, and the Boeing 777.
The Baggage Services / Lost and Found Department, under the direction of Omar Alli, served as a model for other stations and earned a lost baggage rating that became the envy of them. Omar himself often traveled to other stations in order to provide restructuring guidance for their own Baggage Services Departments.
The Ticket Sales-Reservations counter, under the direction of Sidonie Shields, consistently collected significant amounts of annual revenue in ticket sales, excess baggage, and other fees.
The visible presence of Austrian Airlines, in red uniforms, to the passenger, whether worn by Austrian Airlines or Swissport staff, cemented its identity.
The several annual special flights, which sometimes posed significant challenges, but were always successfully executed, included those carrying the Rabbi Twersky group, the American Music Abroad group, the IMTX group, the Vienna Boys & # 39; Choir, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, and Life Ball, the latter with its high-profile celebrities, colorful characters, and pre-departure parties.
The special events, often fostering a "family" atmosphere among its own and Swissport staff, included the annual "Year in Review" series, the Pocono Mountain ski trips, the summer pool parties, the birthdays, the Thanksgiving dinners, and the Secret Santas at Christmas.
And, finally, the daily briefings, jokes, laughs, raps, camaraderie, friendships, and human connections continually emphasized and acknowledged the true souls behind everyone as they cohesively worked toward the airline & # 39; s and the station & # 39; s common goals .
Michael Steinbuegl, who assumed command as JFK Station Manager in September of 2005, had cultivated the environment and orchestrated the steps that had allowed every one of these accomplishments to be made.
13. Two Decades of Elasticity:
Austrian Airlines, hitherto among the smallest European airlines, had to assume a considerable degree of necessary "elasticity" during its 21 years at JFK, ebbing and flowing with the ever-changing turbulence created by prevailing market conditions, seeking financial benefit, synergistic strength, market niche, alliance realignment, and ultimate change of ownership. Defying Darwinian philosophy, whose "survival of the fittest" prediction is often translated as "survival of the largest," Austrian Airlines had, despite numerous, necessary redirections, proven the contrary, perhaps prompting a rewording of the philosophy to read, "survival of the smallest," if four short words were added-namely, "as a global player."
Toward this end, the latest strategy enabled the carrier to survive. For station JFK and its staff, however, it did not.
Because I had been hired by Austrian Airlines two months before its inaugural transatlantic flight from JFK occurred on March 26, 1989 and subsequently held several positions there throughout its 21-year history, I felt singularly qualified, as a lifetime aviation researcher, historian, and writer, to preserve its story in words. It is, in essence, my story. It is what I lived. And what I leave …