MIAMI – According to Bloomberg, Lufthansa (LH) prepares to retire much of its long-haul fleet. This will include all remaining Airbus A380, Boeing 747-400, and many of its Airbus A340. 

Despite receiving US$11bn in state-aid, the airline has had to make serious cuts to its workforce, fleet and other expenses. 

Lufthansa’s rivals have also opted to retire large, older aircraft that are hard to fill due to the dramatic decrease in demand for air travel. British Airways (BA) is currently in the process of retiring its whole flagship Boeing 747-400 fleet and Ibera (IB) is retiring its Airbus A340 fleet. 

The road ahead for the Lufthansa Group, Europe’s largest airline, will not be smooth. By 2023, the airline will need to retire or remove 100 of its 760 aircraft (roughly 13%). 

With the removal of so many aircraft will come a huge amount of job loss as well. According to the airline’s calculations, operating an Airbus A350 requires 220 staff, meaning the retirement of 10 long haul aircraft could result in 2,000 job losses. 

We can expect the airline to confirm this news in 10 days, where the airline’s supervisory board is set to sign off on the plan. 

Lufthansa had previously downgraded its daily Airbus A340-600 service to Caracas with smaller A330-300 equipment. PHOTO: GUSTAVO RAMIREZ.

Lufthansa Fleet


According to the airline, Lufthansa currently operates a fleet of 364 aircraft (as of 2019). Of those, the airline operates 32 Boeing 747, 14 Airbus A380 and 34 Airbus A340 aircraft. 

Lufthansa will most likely keep some younger Airbus A340-600 and all Boeing 747-8 aircraft to handle long haul operations. The Lufthansa Group currently has 70 long-haul aircraft on order including 30 Airbus A350, 20 Boeing 787, and 20 Boeing 777. 

in 2013, the airline, then a major Boeing 747 operator, gave Joe Sutter a lifetime achievement award, recognizing his legacy in the industry, especially his long-haul airframes. Sutter led the engineering team that developed the iconic Boeing 747.


Featured image: Lufthansa Airbus A380 and Boeing 747. Photo:Kiefer (Commoms).