DALLAS — The Lufthansa Group (LH) has today placed a firm order for 22 long-haul passenger aircraft, consisting of 15 Airbus A350s and seven Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
The Boeing order includes seven 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, the medium-sized version of the type. With the addition of these units, the current order for Boeing 787-9s is now up to 39, and an additional 20 Boeing 777X aircraft are also on order. The German flag carrier received its first Dreamliner earlier this year and now operates three units on routes from FRA to North American destinations.
The Airbus order is split between five Airbus A350-900 and ten A350-1000 passenger aircraft. It is the first time the group has ordered the largest variant of the A350. With 60 units of the new Airbus widebody aircraft now on order, the LH Group becomes the third largest customer of the type, behind Singapore Airlines (SQ) and Qatar Airways (QR).
Lufthansa has operated the A350-900 since 2016, first placing the order for the type in 2013. The German airline has 21 A350s flying to long-haul destinations in North America and Asia from LH’s hubs in Frankfurt (FRA) and Munich (MUN).
Moreover, the LH Group signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Airbus in order to “further strengthen their cooperation in the field of sustainability and future technologies.”
The agreement includes cooperation on sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), improving the efficiency of a flight management system, and exploring the possibilities of hydrogen flight.
“We are honoured to see Lufthansa topping up its A350 order book to a total of 60 aircraft, joining the increasing number of A350-1000 customers around the world,” said Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer (CCO).
“By adding the largest A350 family member to its fleet, Lufthansa will benefit from Airbus’ full fleet commonality, offering unmatched operational flexibility and vast economic benefits.”
Lufthansa Fleet Renewal
Carsten Sphor, CEO of Lufthansa, said, “With our purchase of 22 further Airbus A350s and Boeing 787s, we have secured the delivery of more than 50 latest-generation long-haul aircraft for the member airlines of the Lufthansa Group since the pandemic began.”
Spohr, who will stay as CEO for five more years, added, “These new aircraft will play a decisive role in helping us achieve our carbon emission reduction goals by 2030 as fuel-efficient aircraft which incorporate the latest manufacturing technology are by far the greatest lever for providing more climate protection within the aviation sector.”
At the moment of writing, the Lufthansa Group has now an extensive order book of 108 long-haul jets, including the Airbus A350-900, the Boeing 787-9, the upcoming Boeing 777-9X, and now also the Airbus A350-1000 variant. According to the LH Group, they will operate the quietest, most profitable, and most economical long-haul aircraft that are currently in service.
The arrival of these brand-new aircraft will also start a new process of retirement of the oldest widebodies of the fleet. The group announced up to six phaseouts of Lufthansa Boeing 747-400s, A340-300s and 600s, and also of Austrian Airlines Boeing 777-200s and 767-300s.
These 22 new long-haul aircraft will allow the LH Group to accelerate the renewal of its fleet. The airline wants to progressively phase out its older generation long-haul widebodies, especially its four-engine aircraft, such as the A340 and the Boeing 747-400. Other aircraft, such as the Boeing 777-200, the Airbus A330-200, and the Boeing 767-300, will also be taken out of service in the “medium-term future.”
Airline Fleet Distribution
The Lufthansa Group has not made any direct statements about the distribution of aircraft related to their 22-unit order. However, it is likely that the majority of the Boeing 787 Dreamliners will be used by the German carrier of the group, while the Airbus A350-900s may be divided between Lufthansa and Swiss.
As for the Airbus A350-1000, the LH Group has an order of 10 units and has said that these aircraft will primarily be used in premium-heavy markets, and they will all be equipped with a First Class cabin.
This is in line with LH’s recent announcement of their Allegris Premium cabin, which includes a brand-new First Class Suite on their long-haul aircraft.
Airways contacted the airline for comments and details on the Boeing 777X order.
This is a developing story.
Further research by Adrian Nowakowski. Featured image: Lufthansa A350-900s. Photo: Adrian Nowakowski/Airways