Lufthansa To Order 59 Widebodies from Boeing and Airbus

 - September 19, 2013, 10:02 AM
Lufthansa's latest order commitment includes 25 Airbus A350-900s. (Photo: Airbus)

Boeing and Airbus will share in the spoils of a massive investment by Lufthansa Group involving orders for 59 widebody airplanes worth $18.7 billion at list prices, the German airline announced Thursday. Recently approved by the Deutsche Lufthansa supervisory board, the investment plan calls for an order for 34 Boeing 777-9Xs—making Lufthansa the launch customer for the planned new widebody expected to enter service around the end of the decade—and 25 Airbus A350-900s, scheduled for delivery as early as 2016.

Lufthansa said the airplanes primarily will serve to replace existing models, namely Boeing 747-400s and Airbus A340-300s, by 2025.

Lufthansa’s calculations show that the 59 new aircraft will consume an average of 2.9 liters of jet fuel per passenger and 100 kilometers flown, amounting to about a 25-percent decrease compared with current models. It expects unit costs to shrink by some 20 percent.

Potentially the largest private investment in the history of German industry, the orders represent the centerpiece of an ongoing “fundamental reorganization” at the Lufthansa Group, including the restructuring of internal group services in the areas of purchasing, finance and personnel administration. “Through the SCORE program, which we have been implementing since 2012, we are creating the strategic and financial conditions necessary for this type of investment,” explained Lufthansa Group CEO Christoph Franz. In March, the group approved the purchase of approximately 100 short- and medium-haul aircraft, including six new Boeing 777-300ERs expected to replace A340-300s at Swiss. The company now holds delivery positions on 295 airplanes worth $48 billion, all of which it expects to receive by 2025.

“This investment will safeguard about 13,000 jobs at Lufthansa alone as well as thousands of jobs at our partners in aviation and other suppliers,” said Franz in reference to the latest order during a Thursday press conference in Frankfurt.

“Every single A350 and every single Boeing 777 develops the employment effect of a medium-sized company in Germany.” 

At Lufthansa alone, every aircraft will protect about 220 jobs directly, according to the company, as well as another 100 jobs at airports, air traffic control, manufacturers, freight forwarders and other partners in the system. The employment effect of the 59 widebody aircraft amounts to more than 20,000 jobs in Germany and Europe, it said.

For Boeing, the Lufthansa deal caps two days of frenetic commercial activity, starting with its announcement on Wednesday of the completion of a firm order for thirty 787-10s and three 787-9 Dreamliners from Air Lease Corp., fulfilling a $9.4 billion commitment originally announced during the 2013 Paris Air Show in June. A day later, Boeing and GECAS confirmed another commitment signed at Paris for ten 787-10s worth $2.9 billion at list prices.