Lufthansa Adds Four Leased Airbus A350-900s To Its Fleet

The Lufthansa Airbus A350-900 fleet is set to get bigger slightly ahead of schedule with the lease of four aircraft. These aircraft, coming from three different lessors, are set to join the airline’s fleet at the start of 2022. It comes as the airline pushes towards cleaner next-gen aircraft in both long and short-haul capacities.

Frankfurt Airport, Passenger Traffic, Cargo Volume
Lufthansa is accelerating its A350 roll out with four additional leased aircraft. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Lufthansa loves the Airbus A350-900. It was the aircraft picked for the airline’s longest flight to date, operating from Hamburg to the Falkland Islands. The airline also picked the aircraft to handle some of its Boeing 747 services at the start of its post-pandemic recovery. Now, the German flag carrier wants more of the jets.

Replacing the Airbus A340

Lufthansa has accelerated its Airbus A350-900 roll-out, revealing that it will take four more jets in early 2022. According to the airline, the jets will be leased from Avolon, SMBC Aviation Capital, and Goshawk. This will grow the fleet to 21 aircraft.

According to data from ch-aviation.com, three of the four aircraft headed to Lufthansa have so far been identified. All three are coming from Philippine Airlines. The oldest, RP-C3503, is 3.24 years old, having first flown on July 11th, 2018. The plane has clocked 7,747 flight hours over just 750 flight cycles.

Lufthansa, Airbus A350, Philippine Airlines
The aircraft are expected from Philippine Airlines. Photo: Airbus

RP-C3506 is 3.07 years old, having first flown on September 11th, 2018. This aircraft is due to be registered D-AIVC in the Lufthansa fleet and has clocked 7,449 hours across 619 cycles. Meanwhile, RP-C3507 is 2.74 years old. It has completed 7,587 flight hours across 668 flights since its first flight in January 2019.

Planespotters.net suggests that the fourth and final aircraft bound for Lufthansa is RP-C3508. This aircraft, still in active service with Philippine Airlines, had clocked 7,560 hours across 695 flights as of June 30th, according to data from ch-aviation.com. It is 2.49 years old, having first flown on April 9th, 2019. The website estimates that each aircraft has a monthly lease cost between $700,000 and $750,000.

Continuously growing the A350 fleet

Work is already underway to convert the aircraft into Lufthansa jets. RP-C3506 is currently at Lufthansa Technik’s A350 maintenance base at Luqa International Airport on the European island of Malta. The aircraft is temporarily registered as D-AAEU. The switch over to aircraft such as the A350 is primarily driven by a goal of sustainability.

Lufthansa, Airbus A340, Return
The A350s are primarily intended to replace Airbus A340 aircraft. Photo: Vincenzo Pace – Simple Flying

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, roughly half of Lufthansa’s long-haul fleet had four engines. By 2025, this is expected to drop to 15%. The airline has already ditched the Airbus A380 from its fleet. Eight Boeing 747-400s have been kept around but will be replaced as Boeing 777-9s are delivered from 2023 onwards. The A350 is primarily replacing the Airbus A340s. Meanwhile, the Boeing 747-8 will remain in the fleet for the foreseeable future.

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The Airbus A350-900 only consumes 2.5 liters of fuel per passenger per 100km flown. Around a year ago, Lufthansa brought the A350 to Frankfurt to take over from the Boeing 747-8 on some routes because of how fuel-efficient it is.

Lufthansa, Airbus A350, Philippine Airlines
The first A350 with first class (seen here on an A380) will be delivered in July 2023. Photo: Gregor Schlaeger via Lufthansa

Without these leased aircraft, the next Airbus A350 was due to be delivered in July 2023. This will be the first Airbus A350 to be delivered to Lufthansa with a first class cabin. Lufthansa kept five Airbus A340-600s in service pending its delivery, but these could now be retired early with the four early-2022 deliveries.

Are you excited to see Lufthansa taking delivery of four extra Airbus A350-900s? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!

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