Lufthansa confirms A380 and 747 ‘phase-out,’ new business class launch

Mar 4, 2021

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Singapore Airlines recently made headlines with a further investment in its Airbus A380s, resuming its effort to make cabin upgrades throughout the double-decker plane.

Unfortunately Lufthansa’s superjumbos will soon meet a very different fate, as will the carrier’s Boeing 747-400s and Airbus A340-600s, along with A330-200s, Boeing 777-200s and 767-300s operated by other Lufthansa Group airlines.

As confirmed in the company’s 2020 annual report, Lufthansa Group will be adjusting its intercontinental fleets in an attempt to “reduce complexity, costs and emissions.”

Screenshot courtesy of Lufthansa.

As the airline explains in its annual report:

Key targets are the systematic renewal of the fleet to cut fuel consumption, reduce carbon emissions and trim the number of aircraft models by retiring and phasing out older, less efficient aircraft, such as the Airbus A340-600 and A380. Phasing out large aircraft also increases operating flexibility. The fleet is to be scaled back by 150 aircraft compared with the size before the pandemic.

It’s not clear when the remaining A380s and 747-400s will be sold or permanently retired, though I wouldn’t be surprised to see them never fly Lufthansa passengers again, considering they’re currently in long-term storage.

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Most of the fleet updates will impact Lufthansa, though other subsidiaries, including Austrian, Brussels Airlines, Eurowings and Swiss could face significant adjustments, too. As the company explains:

The fleet reductions include three B767s at Austrian Airlines, three A330-200s at Brussels Airlines, three A319s at SWISS, five A321s at Eurowings, seven Bombardier CRJs at Lufthansa Cityline, and the entire sub-fleets of A340-600s (17 aircraft) and A380s (14 aircraft) at Lufthansa German Airlines. The A340-600 sub-fleets and the eight A380s remaining after the agreed sale of six aircraft in 2022 and 2023 have been fully decommissioned for several years. The decision was also taken to immediately sell individual aircraft, in particular seven A340-600s, five Boeing 747-400s and prospectively 40 aircraft of the Airbus A320 family.

It’s not all bad news, though. Lufthansa will continue flying its newer Boeing 747-8s, and the parent company intends to continue making investments, including adding more than 175 aircraft to the fleet over the next decade:

Screenshot courtesy of Lufthansa.

Lufthansa is also planning to introduce its new business-class product in 2022, offering far more space and privacy, with an alternating 1-1-1 and 1-2-1 configuration.

Screenshot courtesy of Lufthansa.

Notably, the airline has been teasing its new seat since 2017 — assuming it starts flying next year, we’re looking at a whopping five-year wait, with the product originally expected in 2020.

Even then, it’ll take years to update the remaining fleet, assuming that’s what the carrier intends to do. We’ve reached out to Lufthansa for clarification regarding the company’s fleet and business class plans, and will update this post if we receive a response.

With many global airlines offering direct aisle access from every business-class seat, Lufthansa’s current 2-2-2 arrangement is really showing its age. Still, it’s an acceptable option for now, especially considering the severe impact the pandemic has had on Lufthansa’s bread-and-butter corporate-travel market.

Featured photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.

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