Just a few weeks ago, Lauda boss David O'Brien assured that the Lauda brand would be preserved. You fly under Ryanair flight numbers, but the paintwork, uniforms and other branding remain the same. This will soon be over, because the brand will completely disappear from the market. However, repainting will be avoided for reasons of cost.
The fact that the Austrian Laudamotion had an expiry date was at the latest since the official confirmation that with Lauda Europe a Successor with a Maltese license is raised, of course. Of the last flight was on October 19, 2020. Atypical for the previous behavior of the company: the flight operations were shut down quietly and without a press release, media event or even accusations against competitors.
Managing director Andreas Gruber told the opposite Aviation Week the future of the Austrian Laudamotion GmbH: "Now we are closing the company and then this company will soon be history". The fleet, which once consisted of 30 Airbus A320s, has already been re-registered from the Austrian to the Maltese register. Therefore, the Lauda airbuses are now wearing instead of the Austrian the Maltese national emblem on the fuselage. The registrations no longer begin with OE, but with 9H. In short: Lauda Europe Ltd. is an Austrian, but a Maltese airline.
The Lauda brand was pushed by Ryanair at great expense. In contrast to the sister companies Malta Air and Buzz, it had its own brand identity and it was not the FR code, but OE (Laudamotion) that was used. In the beginning there were actually product differences, but these were gradually abolished. During the corona-related "flight break", Ryanair Holdings plc decided that the Lauda brand would be withdrawn from the market and Laudamotion or now Lauda Europe only as pure ACMI operator for sister company Ryanair DAC will operate. The bases Stuttgart and Düsseldorf were shut down completely and the staff there were put on the street. In Vienna you were taken care of with a real soap opera new collective agreement, which is now proverbial for the bin, because Lauda Europe Ltd. Another employer is causing a stir. Self two demonstrations organized the employees out of fear for their jobs.
In the 2020 summer flight schedule, ten Airbus A320s were used for Ryanair from Vienna-Schwechat and it is currently also unclear how many aircraft Lauda Europe will use in the summer of 2021 from the Austrian capital. The further pandemic and the entry and quarantine regulations will likely have a major impact on the booking behavior of passengers. Laudamotion managing director Andreas Gruber describes the current demand in the industry as follows: "Very weak and extremely bitter".
The sister company Ryanair DAC currently has three Boeing 737-800 planes stationed in Vienna. These are, however, in what is known as short time storage. At the end of October 2020, the group transplanted a Boeing 737-800 and crew from Katowice in Poland to the Austrian capital. The plane is operated by Buzz, the Poland branch of Ryanair. The Ryanair Group did not comment on the motives for this measure - especially taking into account the fact that both Lauda Europe and the Vienna Ryanair base have sufficient staff and aircraft available. Since the Boeing crews pushed into unpaid vacations it can be assumed that the Polish colleagues could be cheaper.
How many Airbus A320s operated by Lauda Europe are in use in Vienna is not that easy to say. The flight plan is constantly being thinned out and Ryanair currently only offers 19 round trips per week. In this context, Andreas Gruber could not resist a swipe at competitor Wizzair: "However, you can see more Ryanair planes in Vienna than Wizz Air, which currently only operates two routes". The Hungarian competitor will only serve in November 2020 at least the destinations Pristina and Tenerife South.
The Airbus jets shouldn't have a particularly long life within the Ryanair Group anyway, because CEO Michael O'Leary clearly stated that Lauda Europe will be converted into a pure Boeing operator if Airbus does not literally drop its pants when it comes to the price of neo machines.