The Lufthansa Group supervisory board on Wednesday approved the purchase of another 20 Airbus A350-900s and 20 Boeing 787-9s. The German airline said the airplanes would primarily replace four-engine jets and enter service between late 2022 and 2027. Lufthansa Airlines already flies 12 of an original order for 25 A350-900s placed in 2013.
In terms of four-engine airplanes, Lufthansa Airlines now flies 15 Airbus A340-300s, 17 A340-600s, 14 A380s, 13 Boeing 747-400s, and 19 B747-8s. In another blow to the A380 program, Lufthansa said it agreed with Airbus to return six of its superjumbos to the manufacturer. It plans to replace the A340s with A350-900s and the 747-400s with Boeing 777-9s, an order for which it placed in 2013 for 34 alongside the first A350 order. Lufthansa Group’s Swiss International Airlines subsidiary operates five A340-300s, all of which it plans to refurbish. Another Lufthansa subsidiary, Brussels Airlines, operates a pair of A340-300s under a wet-lease deal for Eurowings. Lufthansa Group plans to replace those two airplanes with A330-300s.
“By replacing four-engine planes with new models, we are laying a sustainable foundation for our future in the long run,” said Lufthansa Group CEO and chairman 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 was also a decisive factor in our investment decision. Our responsibility for the environment is becoming more and more important as a criterion for our decisions.”
On average, the new aircraft will consume some 2.9 liters (.766 gallons) of jet fuel per passenger and 100 kilometers (54 nautical miles) flown, or about 25 percent less than that of the predecessor aircraft, according to the company. The possible fuel savings alone amount to 500,000 metric tons per year, or a volume equivalent to a CO2 reduction of 1.5 million metric tons, it added.
Lufthansa Group said it would decide which airline will deploy the aircraft at which hub “at a later date.”