It’s looking increasingly unlikely that any of the Lufthansa jets sent to Teruel for long term storage will ever leave the facility. While the A380s aren’t due to return, it seems as though the entire A340-600 fleet will suffer a similar fate, according to new comments from the airline’s CEO, Carsten Spohr.
The Lufthansa fleet has taken a massive hit from the COVID-19 crisis, as have many fleets around the globe. While many airlines have ditched their 747 fleets prematurely, Lufthansa has remained committed to its 747-8s. However, the same can’t be said about its other four-engined aircraft.
No plans to bring the A340-600 fleet back
We already knew that Lufthansa was incredibly unlikely to resume Airbus A380 flights as demand recovers after the pandemic. However, it seems as though the A340-600 will now also suffer a similar fate. Speaking in an interview with Eurocontrol, Lufthansa’s CEO, Carsten Spohr, commented,
“We took four-engine aircraft out, we grounded the whole A380 fleet. We took the A340-600 out and we don’t plan to bring them back into the air. So there’s a significant fleet modernization happening by the fact that we now a smaller airline and, therefore, can just by the pure nature of the math behind it, modernize our fleet faster.”
Already in long term storage
The Airbus A340-600 fleet has already been in storage for a long time. Lufthansa first announced that it would be sending the fleet into storage in mid-April. The airline has 17 of the aircraft, with the entire fleet being sent to Teruel, an aircraft graveyard in Spain.
At the time, Lufthansa said that the aircraft wouldn’t return to passenger operation for at least one to one and a half years. However, of the 17 aircraft, when the fleet was sent to storage, the decision to retire seven of the aircraft had already taken place. Given that the aircraft are already in Teruel, it would be easy for the German flag carrier to make their temporary decommissioning more permanent.
Other four-engined aircraft remain
While the future looks bleak for the Airbus A340-600, that’s not the case with the entire four-engined fleet at Lufthansa. The airline has continued operations with two of its four-engined aircraft. The Boeing 747-8 continues to operate long-haul flights for the airline, including to South America and Nanjing in China.
In addition, the A340-600’s sister, the A340-300, continues flying for the German flag carrier. Lufthansa has 17 Airbus A340-300 aircraft, according to Planespotters.net. The publication reports that the average fleet age is 21.3 years. Interestingly, they also list the entire A340-600 fleet as already retired.
Do you think Lufthansa will bring any of its A340-600 aircraft back? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!