Lufthansa Mulls Swapping Boeing 777X Delivery Slots For Freighters

Lufthansa is reportedly more interested in Boeing 777 Freighters than the Boeing 777-9 in the short term. The suggestion comes as the German group prepares for years of recovery from the current situation.

Lufthansa, Boeing 777X, Freighter
Lufthansa is reportedly looking to exchange 777X orders for Boeing 777 Freighters. Photo: Getty Images

The global aviation industry has been hit hard by the current crisis. While some airlines have been fairly quiet about their future post-crisis, Lufthansa hasn’t. The airline has openly decommissioned tens of aircraft. Additionally, it has stated that it expects the effects to last for years. In the meantime, the group, which has around 750 aircraft, has had to park most of its planes as opposed to operating empty flights.

Delayed Boeing 777X deliveries

It has been reported that Lufthansa is looking to delay deliveries of the Boeing 777X according to Aero.de. The German publication has reported that Lufthansa is eyeing swapping the Boeing 777X delivery slots it has for Boeing 777 Freighters.

This would certainly make sense for the German flag carrier. Lufthansa has publicly stated that it expects any recovery to be slow and take many years. In fact, when it announced that it was decommissioning its fleet of A340-600, it said that if these aircraft returned, they wouldn’t for at least a year.

Lufthansa, Boeing 777X, Freighter
Lufthansa was due to be the launch customer of the Boeing 777X. Photo: Lufthansa

Now, Lufthansa was due to be the launch customer for the Boeing 777-9 this summer. However, the program was delayed due to issues with the first flight. As such, it is now due to be delivered in Summer 2021- a year into the Lufthansa Group’s three-year recovery expectations.

If the airline does end up delaying deliveries of the 777X, it would also mean that introduction of the airline’s brand new business class would be delayed. This hotly anticipated upgrade was slated to be launched on the 777X.

Lufthansa, Boeing, 777X Delivery Delay
Lufthansa will debut a new business class product onboard the 777X. Photo: Lufthansa

Of course, it goes without saying that the group likely won’t have a need for brand new aircraft this time next year, if their assessment is accurate. Recently group CEO Carsten Spohr said that the airline group no longer expects a new aircraft every 10 days for the next ten years.

A Lufthansa spokesperson told Simple Flying that the airline does not comment on media speculation.

What about freighters?

It has been reported by aero.de that instead of being the launch customer for the Boeing 777X, the airline could instead take delivery of more Boeing 777 Freighters. Indeed, as soon as later this year.

The publication cites an inside source as stating “Lufthansa wants to exchange early delivery slots for the 777-9 for 777F.”

Lufthansa, Boeing 777X, Freighter
Lufthansa will also delay retiring it’s MD11s. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Freight appears to be the backbone of Lufthansa’s services at the moment. Indeed, as passenger numbers plummeted in Frankfurt during March, the amount of cargo actually increased. Lufthansa has delayed the retirement of some MD11 freighters, with every freighter remaining in service. Additionally, the carrier has been using passenger aircraft for freight services too. Given all of this, it would be no surprise if the airline wanted more dedicated freighters.

Do you think Lufthansa should swap Boeing 777Xs for Freighters? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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