Lufthansa To Remove 5 Airbus A340-600s From Desert Storage

Lufthansa is set to begin reactivating its Airbus A340-600 fleet. Next summer, the airline will remove at least five of its grounded aircraft from storage to allow it to up its first class offering from the airline’s Munich hub.

Lufthansa, Airbus A340, Return
Lufthansa is set to remove five Airbus A340-600 aircraft from desert storage. Photo: Getty Images

Around a year ago, Lufthansa flew its entire fleet of Airbus A340-600 aircraft to Teruel, a Spanish aircraft storage facility also housing most of the airline’s Airbus A380 aircraft. While many had assumed that the fate of the four-engine single-deck jets had been sealed, Lufthansa has now revealed that this is not the case.

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At least five aircraft will be back

According to Lufthansa, it will reactivate at least five Airbus A340-600 aircraft to allow it to offer first class on more routes from its Munich hub. Currently, the airline only offers a first class cabin on the Airbus A340-600, Airbus A380, and Boeing 747. It seems the slightly smaller A340-600 was preferable to the Airbus A380 in this case. The A340-600 was a hit with customers, known for its toilet section in the cargo hold.

According to Lufthansa, these five aircraft will return to service in Summer 2022, meaning we still have quite a wait until we see them gracing the skies again. The airline intends to operate the jets on flights to North America and Asia. But, of course, much can change in a year, and we could still see this decision moved forward, back, or canceled altogether.

Lufthansa, Airbus A340, Return
The aircraft is known for its cabin featuring toilets in the cargo hold. Photo: Vincenzo Pace – Simple Flying

The move comes as a surprise given how damning Lufthansa had been on the type’s future. The airline has always maintained that the aircraft it has not permanently retired, such as the A340 fleet, could be brought back into service if there was exceptional demand. In January, the Lufthansa Group CEO, Carsten Spohr, revealed,

“We took the A340-600 out and we don’t plan to bring them back into the air.”

Lufthansa sent 17 Airbus A340-600 aircraft to Teruel in Spain for long-term storage. The airline is currently in the process of selling 12 of these aircraft, which is why just five will return to service for the time being. These aircraft will be sold at a later date.

Lufthansa, Airbus A340, Return
Lufthansa sent the entire A340-600 fleet to storage, alongside some of its A380s, last summer. Photo: Getty Images

To be replaced by the Airbus A350?

At the start of the month, a Lufthansa spokesperson revealed to Simple Flying that if the A340 did come back, it would be on a limited basis. The airline expects to receive its first Airbus A350-900 aircraft featuring a first class cabin in summer 2023.

These will be based in Munich and will seemingly replace the existing Airbus A340 fleet as they are delivered. If the airline wishes to increase its first class capacity in the meantime, the only option seems to be cabin refits of existing aircraft or the return of the Airbus A380.

Are you excited to see the return of the Airbus A340-600? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below!