Lufthansa has decided a significant renewal of its long-haul fleet on March 23, by announcing it has placed a follow-on order with Airbus for 20 A350-900s but also becoming a Boeing 787-customer, with an order for 20 -9s. Out will go six A380s and the A340-fleet.
Optimization of the structure of its network has Lufthansa opt for more point-to-point routes in the future, with twin-engine airliners giving more flexibility. The best aircraft for this job is the A350 and the 787. Lufthansa already operates a fleet of 12 A350-900s, with 13 more on order. The additional 20 will join the fleet from 2022 until 2027. The A350s seat 293 passengers.
As Lufthansa doesn’t like betting on one horse it has opted for the Boeing 787-9 to join the A350 on long-haul routes. As yet it is unclear if some of these aircraft will replace 14 purchase rights for the 777-9, which have been on and off in the book for some time. Boeing’s latest order and delivery list shows 20 777-9s, but at the annual results presentation on March 14 CEO Carsten Spohr mentioned he has 34 777-9s on order, with the first to be positioned at Frankfurt. Like the A350, the Dreamliners with 250-300 seats will enter the fleet between 2022-2027 and like the Airbus will be powered by Rolls-Royce Trents, XWB-84s and 1000s respectively.
The Boeing 787-9 will be a new model in the Lufthansa fleet from 2022. (Lufthansa)
While replacing the aging A340-300s and -600s is a logical choice from an economic and environmental perspective, Lufthansa surprised a few by announcing it has sold 6 A380s to Airbus for an undisclosed figure. A fleet of 8 double-deckers will do for the German airline. CEO Carsten Spohr expressed his support for the A380 on February 14, when Airbus announced the end of production, saying Lufthansa would continue to fly the A380 for years to come. At the time he didn’t tell that this would be with a reduced fleet.
The A380s have been in service since 2010, with number 14 delivered only April 2015. They have been operated on routes to Asia Pacific, India, the US, and South-Africa and recently been updated with Premium Economy and new First Class and Business Class seats.
In February, Air France confirmed it would reduce its A380-fleet from 10 to 3. While those aircraft are powered by Engine Alliance GP7200s, the Lufthansa A380s have Trent 900s. Which would make them a nice proposition for British Airways…