Lufthansa has announced that, as part of a drive to bring down operating costs, it intends to reduce by half its fleet of widebody aircraft.
The move is part of Lufthansa’s strategy to simplify fleet structure. The retirement of six thirsty widebody passenger airliners by 2025 will, according to ch-aviation, run concurrently with the acquisition of B777-9s, B787-9s and A350-9s.
Lufthansa aims to unscramble its fleet across the entire Group. It is hoped the slicker fleet model resulting from the change will reduce operating costs. By 2025 Lufthansa will have rid itself of its B767-300s, 777-200s and 747-400s. It also intends to retire its tonnage of A330-200s, A340-300s, A340-600s and cargo MD-11Fs.
In tandem with the retirements, Lufthansa will continue to operate the A330-300, A350-900 and A380, as well as various Boeing types. The company will also bring into service the B777-9 and 787-9. According to Lufthansa, the long-haul fleet, thus streamlined, will reduce costs associated with “crew training, maintenance and ongoing operations.”
By 2025 LH’s long-haul fleet will have been modernized. The company says by doing so it can save up to 500,000 metric tons of fuel per year. That is the equivalent to an annual CO2 reduction of 1.5 million metric tons.
According to a Capital Markets Day presentation, the Group plans to retire the following types from service: B747-400, B777-200(ER), A340-600, A340-300, A330-200, B767-300(ER) and the cargo MD-11(F).
At the point of reorganization, Lufthansa’s widebody flotilla will include the following types: A380-800, B747-8, B777-9, B777-300(ER), A350-900, A330-300, B777-F and B787-9.
In March of this year we reported that Lufthansa had placed an order which included 20 Boeing 787-9 aircraft. At the same time, the company also added 20 more A350-900s to a previous order for 25. The types are scheduled to be delivered throughout 2023. The list price for these 40 aircraft was $12bn. The Group has since placed an order for 20 Boeing 777-9s, according to OMAT, to be delivered between 2020 and 2025.
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Lufthansa Group admits the decision on which of its subsidiaries will get the various types is yet to be made. Industry observers suggest the A350 and B787 will be drafted into service with Austrian, Brussels Airlines, and Swiss.
Lufthansa possesses one of the largest airline fleets in the world, and officially Europe’s largest. In May of this year, 13 million passengers boarded its flights. As well as the Lufthansa airline itself, the Group owns Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Swiss International Air Lines and Eurowings.
Reason for change
Lufthansa’s diffuse modernization stems from a ubiquitous desire among airlines to invest in new technology to save costs and make air travel more environmentally friendly. LH believes that replacing the old birds with more efficient, new models will do just that.
“By replacing four-engine planes with new models, we are laying a sustainable foundation for our future in the long run,” said CEO Carsten Spohr.
“In addition to the cost-effectiveness of the A350 and B787, the significantly lower CO2 emissions of this new generation of long-haul aircraft were also a decisive factor in our investment decision.”
If Lufthansa succeeds in its reorganization by the middle of the next decade it will be, according to Spohr, “the most fuel-efficient long-haul aircraft fleet in terms of kerosene consumption per passenger and 100 kilometres flown.”