The Lufthansa Group has made no secret that across the board it is grounding about 90% of its fleet. However, which long-haul aircraft are grounded, where are they grounded, and how long have they been grounded? Simple Flying crunched the numbers so that you don’t have to!
Lufthansa had already begun to ground aircraft as soon as the drop in demand to China began to fall. Initially, this accounted for just five widebody aircraft. However, since then the situation in Europe, including Germany, has deteriorated rapidly. According to data from FlightRadar24.com just 26 long-haul aircraft from the Lufthansa fleet have flown in the past three days.
Aircraft groundings increase mid-March
Initially, the Lufthansa Group grounded a few long-haul aircraft towards the start of March. This was due to the fact that passengers were less willing to fly from Germany to other destinations. However, since then the situation has changed drastically.
According to the latest data at the time of writing from John Hopkins University, Germany now has the fifth-highest number of cases of coronavirus. Many countries have now imposed travel bans alongside the fall in demand. As a result, Lufthansa flew just 19 of its 111 long-haul aircraft in the last couple of days.
The big turning point came on the 11th of March. Before this date, a couple of aircraft were grounded every few days. However, as the graph above shows, from the 11th of March onwards, with the exception of the 21st, multiple aircraft took their last flight each day. This has led to aircraft being parked on runways as this image from Instagram user Marius G shows:
As of three days ago, Lufthansa was still operating at least one of every type of aircraft in its fleet. Interestingly, its bigger Boeing 747 aircraft seems to be most popular at the moment, and not just the new 747-8s.
Interestingly, only one of the A340-600 and A350-900 fleets has flown in the last three days, with no A350s having flown in the last two days. But where exactly are all of these planes being kept? The majority are at Frankfurt or Munich with a few more dotted about elsewhere. We’ve broken it down by aircraft type!
The Airbus A330 fleet
Lufthansa has 15 Airbus A330s in its fleet, all of these are the -300 variant of the aircraft. They range in age from 16 years to just six years old, with an average of 11.7 years of age between them. Of these aircraft, four have flown in the past three days, some bringing much needed medical supplies from China.
The majority of Lufthansa’s parked A330s are resting their wings at the airline’s Frankfurt Airport hub. However, three aircraft are elsewhere. D-AIKS has been in Amman since the 9th of February before the crisis really began. D-AIKR was ferried to Bordeaux on the 7th of March, and AIKE was ferried to Hamburg on the 20th.
The A340 fleet
Lufthansa operates 34 Airbus A340 aircraft. This is split evenly between the Airbus A340-300 and the Airbus A340-600. Interestingly, the economy bathrooms on the -600 are located in the aircraft’s cargo hold.
29 of the 34 A340 aircraft were not flown in the past three days. Again, the majority are parked up at Frankfurt, airport, with a handful at Lufthansa’s other base, Munich. Two aircraft D-AIFD and D-AIGN (both -300s) are parked at Hamburg.
Meanwhile, D-AIHF was ferried to Luqa in February and D-AIHB was ferried to Manila in February. Both were -600s. Lufthansa Technik has a presence in both of these locations, meaning they may be grounded for maintenance reasons.
The Airbus A350 fleet
Lufthansa appears to be neglecting its A350 fleet a little. Only one of the type had flown in the last three days, with no A350s operating today or yesterday. Perhaps the airline is looking to get mileage out of its older aircraft prior to their retirement.
One Airbus A350-900 was ferried to Manila having taken its last commercial flight on the 11th of March. This aircraft may be down for maintenance. The remainder of the Airbus A350-900 fleet remains in Munich for the time being.
The Airbus A380 fleet
Lufthansa operates a fleet of 14 of the giant of the skies. The fleet is between 10 and five years old and is split between Munich and Frankfurt. The airline had been planning to split the fleet 50/50 between the two locations, meaning you occasionally see A380 ferry flights between the two cities.
One of the airline’s Airbus A380s, D-AIMF is currently at Airbus’ Hamburg plant. Perhaps it is being repainted into the new Lufthansa livery. Meanwhile, one other aircraft, D-AIML has flown one test flight above Frankfurt after returning from maintenance in Manilla.
While the group had touted grounding the A380 fleet, two remain operational due to their impressive capacity. They have been operating rescue flights from India and Thailand. Four more aircraft are in Munich with the remaining seven in Frankfurt.
The Boeing 747 fleet
Last but not least is the airline’s Boeing 747 fleet. This is the airline’s second-biggest fleet by type at 32 aircraft. The airline operates 13 Boeing 747-400s and 19 747-8s. In fact, it is one of just three operators of the latter aircraft.
One of the airline’s Boeing 747-400s, D-ABVY wearing the airline’s retro livery, flew to Auckland to rescue stranded tourists. Like most of the other fleets, the majority of grounded aircraft are in Frankfurt. Again, one aircraft registered as D-ABYI is in Hamburg, and D-ABYT is in Manila. Both are 747-8s.
However, interestingly, two aircraft appear to be grounded in Beijing. These are D-ABVO, a Boeing 747-400 that last flew on the 22nd of March, and D-ABYD, a Boeing 747-8 that last flew on the 18th of March.
Have you flown on a Lufthansa long-haul aircraft recently? Let us know when and where in the comments.