LONDON – On Friday (April 29), the Airbus A350-900 with the registration D-AIVC was baptized in Munich.
Lufthansa is sending the aircraft from the Bavarian hub to Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver in Canada with immediate effect – featuring a new product on board for the German airline.
The aircraft will be named after the Bavarian capital, Munich
Lufthansa had leased this and three other aircraft from SMBC Aviation Capital. They were available at short notice and are now expanding Lufthansa’s long-haul fleet based in Munich.
Previously, it had long been under discussion whether the four leased A350s should come to Munich or Frankfurt. Lufthansa now wants to station the ordered Boeing 787s in Frankfurt.
Lufthansa, Germany´s largest carrier currently owns 18 aircraft of the Airbus A350-900. 25 aircraft are ordered.
They feature between 293 and 319 seats in a 3 class configuration including Economy-, Premium Economy- and Business Class. A first-class can only be found onboard the Boeing 747-8 and the retired Airbus A380-800.
“With a significantly improved business class on board, this aircraft also represents the beginning of one of the largest product modernizations in Lufthansa’s history,” Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr said during the aircraft’s inauguration.”
“Lufthansa explained in a statement, “All seats have direct aisle access, can be easily and quickly converted into a two-meter bed, and offer more storage space.”
“In addition, travelers have significantly more space available in the shoulder area.”
Only minimal changes in the cabin
However, this is not Lufthansa’s own new business class, which the airline has long anticipated. The D-AIVC and the three other A350-900s that Lufthansa leases continue to have the cabin that the previous operator Philippine Airlines used on the aircraft.
In November 2021, Spohr had already stated that no changes would be made to the configuration: 30 seats in Business Class, 24 in Premium Economy, and 241 in Economy.
In the cabin, only minimal changes will be made to the design in order to create the Lufthansa touch and feel, according to the Group CEO.
In addition, he said, the company is stocking up on safety equipment. “Everything else will remain as it is.” There is no money for conversion at the moment, he said.
Direct access to the aisle for everyone
“The business class is great,” Spohr praised at the time. “It’s not as good as our own, which is coming in 2023, but it’s better than our current one.”
The cabin, he said, is, therefore, a step toward greater comfort. This includes, for example, direct access to the aisle from every seat. It won’t be the only step in between before the full new business class arrives at Lufthansa.
Moreover, the first five Boeing 787s, which Lufthansa plans to start flying in the second quarter of 2022, will be a kind of transitional product.
These jets are whitetails, in other words fully built aircraft for which the manufacturer has lost the original customers.
It will be interesting to see how Lufthansa´s Business Class customers will like the new product and if other aircraft will get an update before the first 777X delivery, delaying even more than expected.