Several high profile aircraft type retirements have taken place recently such as the British Airways Boeing 767 late last year. However, we believe this Lufthansa Airbus A320 deserves a big pat on the tail as it enters retirement today. The aircraft has been in service flying from airports in Germany for almost 30 years.
Lufthansa is a huge Airbus A320 operator. Indeed, the German flag carrier last week revealed its new A321neo cabin to the world. However, this particular Airbus A320 was Lufthansa’s first aircraft of the type. In fact, out of almost 9,000 A320s manufactured to date, this was the 69th.
30 years old
Lufthansa’s first Airbus A320 is almost 30 years old. That’s pretty old for an aircraft. When the aircraft first joined the airline’s fleet the Berlin Wall still stood. In fact, East and West Germany were still split until a year after the aircraft was delivered.
While some aircraft hop between different operators, this was not the case with D-AIPA. Indeed, Lufthansa’s oldest Airbus A320 has only ever belonged to Lufthansa. The aircraft is one of 111 Airbus A320ceos operated to date by Lufthansa according to Airfleets.net. There are very few older A320s still in operation.
An era has come to an end: Our very first #A320 landed today for the last time @Airport_FRA. Since 1989 D-AIPA has been flying all over Europe. CEO #CarstenSpohr thanked the crew and colleagues of @LHTechnik for their great commitment. So long, Papa Alpha! 👋 @AirbusPress pic.twitter.com/h1T9qgU9NV
— Lufthansa News (@lufthansaNews) May 29, 2019
The aircraft, D-AIPA, was delivered to Lufthansa by Airbus on 16 of October 1989. It is powered by two CFM International CFM56 engines provided by General Electric who just finished testing their new Boeing 777X engine. The aircraft is named Buxtehude. Germany has a town called Buxtehude in the north, and also a famous organist who shares the name.
The last flight
The last flight of D-AIPA saw the aircraft flying from Brussels to Frankfurt. The occasion was deemed so special that the CEO of Lufthansa met the aircraft at the arrival gate. LH1005 was due to depart from Brussels at 0905CET, however, it departed 12 minutes late at 0917. The flight time was only 35 minutes. As a result, the aircraft landed at 0953CET, 12 minutes earlier than its stated arrival time of 1005.
What’s next for Lufthansa?
Lufthansa is still continuing to receive Airbus A320 aircraft. However, as opposed to the original Airbus A320ceos that were being delivered, the carrier is currently receiving the newer Airbus A320neo. The neo stands for new engine option, and as such, the aircraft is equipped with newer, more fuel-efficient engines.
Lufthansa is still operating the old A320s, however. The oldest aircraft now in Lufthansa’s fleet is just four days younger than the aircraft just retired. While Lufthansa retired the 69th Airbus A320 to be built, they are still operating the 70th A320. The new oldest A320 is registered as D-AIPB and is Named Heidelberg.
What’s the oldest aircraft you’ve flown on? Let us know in the comments!