Lufthansa is now the world’s biggest user of the passenger Boeing 747. It has both the B747-400 and -8, with its -8s now having three-quarters more seats than the iconic -400. Lufthansa uses the B747-8 on 16 routes from Frankfurt this summer – but to where?
Lufthansa began using the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental, for which it was launch customer, in 2012. Now, the German airline is one of only three airlines using the passenger-configured aircraft, along with Air China and Korean Air.
Like many airlines, Lufthansa has simplified its fleet in a move toward smaller long-haul and cost-efficient twins. Key to this was the end of the A380 and the A340-600. However, the B747-8 continues to be operated, likewise – and more surprisingly – both the B747-400 and A340-300.
Indeed, Simple Flying recently looked at all aircraft operating between North America and Europe and found that the fall of the B747 is very plain to see. Now, there is only one passenger 747 operator in this market: Lufthansa. It deploys both the -400 and -8, although the -8 now has twice as many seats as the -400.
Lufthansa is the world’s largest user of passenger 747s, with an estimated 3.3 million seats by them this year, analzing OAG data reveals. It has three-quarters more than number-two, Air China. And Lufthansa is now really all about the 747-8, which has over seven in ten of its 747 seats.
B747-8 operations this summer
The German giant will use the B747-8 on 16 routes this summer, as shown below. Lufthansa has not used the 747-8 on a scheduled basis from Munich – and this does not change this summer. All 16 routes are from Frankfurt.
- Frankfurt-Mexico City: 147,784 two-way seats this summer
- Frankfurt-Johannesburg: 143,780
- Frankfurt-Sao Paulo: 133,588
- Frankfurt-Los Angeles: 127,036
- Frankfurt-Newark: 110,656
- Frankfurt-Houston: 110,656
- Frankfurt-New York JFK: 110,656
- Frankfurt-Miami: 110,656
- Frankfurt-Chicago: 110,656
- Frankfurt-San Francisco: 110,656
- Frankfurt-Tokyo Haneda: 105,196
- Frankfurt-Singapore: 103,740
- Frankfurt-Buenos Aires: 91,728
- Frankfurt-Shanghai: 60,788
- Frankfurt-Delhi: 27,300
- Frankfurt-Bangalore: 20,384
Dulles returns in 2022
In 2012, Lufthansa used the B747-8 on four routes: Bangalore; Delhi; Los Angeles; and Washington Dulles. Only Dulles is no longer served by the type, ending as it did in 2020. This summer, it is served by the A330-300, A340-300, and B747-400. However, the -8 is filed to return in March 2022, replacing the -400, with the -8 and A330-300 both then operating the route.
A day in the life of Lufthansa’s B747-8
On a randomly chosen day this summer, August 13th, Lufthansa has 13 departures from Frankfurt with the 747-8, as follows.
- Houston: 10:00 departure from Frankfurt
- Los Angeles: 10:30
- San Francisco: 10:35
- Miami: 10:45
- Chicago: 10:45
- New York JFK: 11:00
- Newark: 13:20
- Mexico City: 13:30
- Tokyo Haneda: 18:15
- Sao Paulo: 21:40
- Buenos Aires: 21:55
- Singapore: 21:55
- Johannesburg: 22:05
Naturally, the timings of these departures correspond with Lufthansa’s key arrival banks at the airport. The 10:00-11:00 period, for example, has six 747-8 departures. It is fed by the most inbound flights from across Europe and importantly also from across India.