Lufthansa Expands Widebody Aircraft Order By 10 Jets

Lufthansa has just announced an order for 10 new long-haul widebody jets. Split evenly between the Boeing 787-9 and Airbus A350-900, the new planes will further Lufthansa’s widebody fleet modernization plans. The new aircraft will also position the airline group for a long-haul international recovery.

Lufthansa orders 10 new long-haul jets

Lufthansa has opted to take five more Boeing 787-9s and five more Airbus A350-900s. The two aircraft types are not new in Lufthansa’s order book, and the German carrier is already flying the A350-900s

The five new Boeing 787-9 orders are actually white tail, already produced jets that Boeing was searching for a home for. The first 787-9 will join Lufthansa’s fleet as soon as next winter, with more deliveries occurring from 2022-onwards.

As for the Airbus A350-900s, the five additional jets will be delivered to the carrier in 2027 and 2028. These are new production aircraft that have not been built yet.

Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr stated the following on the new order:

“Even in these challenging times, we are continuing to invest in a more modern, more efficient and a lower emission Lufthansa Group fleet. At the same time, we are pushing ahead with the modernization of our long-haul fleet even faster than planned prior to the coronavirus pandemic due to anticyclical opportunities. The new aircraft are the most modern of their kind. We want to further expand our global leadership role, among other things, with cutting-edge premium products and a state-of-the-art fleet – especially because we have a responsibility to the environment.”

The Airbus A350-900

According to Lufthansa, the airline has a fleet of 17 Airbus A350-900s. The carrier had a further backlog of 26 firm orders for the A350-900 with delivery dates from 2023 to 2029 and options for 10 more planes. That order backlog was excluding these five new aircraft announced today.

The Airbus A350-900s flying for Lufthansa come in two different configurations. One, seating 293 passengers, has room for 48 in lie-flat business class, 21 in premium economy, and 224 in standard economy.

The other configuration has room for 36 passengers in business class, 21 in premium economy, and 262 in standard economy. This comes to a total of 319 passengers.

Lufthansa’s Airbus A350s are long-haul workhorses which the carrier is using on several different routes. While current schedules can vary, the A350 has historically flown to places like Los Angeles, Boston, Delhi, and more.

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The Boeing 787-9

Lufthansa now has orders to 25 Boeing 787-9s with none delivered. With the first of the 787s coming as early as next winter, with others following in the first half of 2022, it is less than a year before the planes fly in Lufthansa colors, shuttling passengers around the world, and perhaps with the carrier’s new business class product.

Lufthansa’s Boeing 787s were initially ordered in March of 2019. The jets will be used to modernize the carrier’s fleet and reduce emissions. Lufthansa has not detailed where all of the 787s will end up flying, but some could go out to SWISS and Austrian, two other carriers within the Lufthansa Group.

Fleet modernization

Lufthansa made some significant retirements in 2020 across its fleet as well as in other group airlines. This includes waving auf wiedersehen to Boeing 747-400s, Boeing 767-300ERs, Airbus A340-300s, Airbus A340-600s, and Airbus A330-200s. Also painful is the Airbus A380s, which are being phased out and unlikely to fly again.

With all of these retirements, the next generation of Boeing 777X, 787-9s, and Airbus A350-900s will become all the more important. These planes are more efficient than the aircraft they are replacing and will serve Lufthansa and its associated airlines well.

Lufthansa will be getting new aircraft just as travel demand starts to return and international travel restrictions start to come down. The new aircraft will help Lufthansa replace retired jets like the Airbus A340-600.

The European Union seems determined to open up for foreigners. On Monday, the European Commission proposed pushing EU member nations, including Germany, to ease restrictions on non-essential travel for vaccinated individuals and those coming from low-risk areas.

It will take some time for those restrictions to come down and for travel demand to come back. But, when it does, perhaps in late 2021 or 2022, Lufthansa will have the fleet it needs to service long-haul international destinations again.

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