Will The Boeing 777X Delays Mark The Return of the Airbus A380 for Lufthansa?

Photo Credit: Piotr Bozyk/AviationSource

LONDON – Lufthansa must wait until 2025 for its first Boeing B777-9X. As a result, the airline is negotiating alternatives with the American manufacturer.

The carrier’s attitude towards the Airbus A380 is also changing – reports German portal aeroTelegraph.

So far, Carsten Spohr has left no doubts or illusions about the double-deck SuperJumbo.

“The A380 will of course not return to fly at Lufthansa,” the Lufthansa CEO said in a call with analysts in the summer of 2021.

Then, at the beginning of April this year, in an interview with Spiegel magazine, he reiterated: “This is definitely the end of this aircraft. The A380 will no longer return to the Lufthansa fleet”.

Since that interview, however, a new problem has arisen. Boeing has announced a new delay in the production of its new B777-9X, of which Lufthansa has ordered a total of 20 and is launching customers for the new aircraft.

According to the latest information, the first jets are not due to arrive in the fleet until 2025, while as recently as last year deliveries were expected to start in mid-2023.

Lufthansa talks with Boeing

German airline certainly needs a replacement for the B777X. “On the one hand, we are talking to the US manufacturer about where Boeing can still help us, for example in the form of additional aircraft of a different type”, Spohr said on Thursday (5 May) in a conversation with reporters.

In addition, Lufthansa continues to look at the market for used jets for long-haul flights.

“Lufthansa is looking at what fleet options we still have that can enter service in the summer of 2024 and the summer of 2025, where we have to assume that the 777X will not yet be able to fly”, Spohr added.

The latest information indicates that the planned buffer fleet, for the time being, are long-haul airbus A340-300 and A340-600 aircraft.

“Let’s assume that our patience will pay off. Delays would always change into some financial concessions such as discounts. That is why we are dealing with this problem and with Boeing, even if it is very disappointing for all of us”, Spohr concluded referring to the Boeing delays.

Lufthansa’s long-haul fleet currently consists of 87 aircraft: 13 Airbus A330-300s, 17 A340-300s, 10 A340-600s, 20 A350-900s, and eight Boeing B747-400s, and 19 B747-8Is.

Is there also an option for the A380?

At least, contrary to expectations, the Lufthansa CEO and his board seem to have the door open for the A380. For this to happen, however, the right conditions would have to be in place.

“Keyword A380: our position on this has not changed, for the time being”, the LH Group chief explained. But then he added something that no longer sounded as definitive as before.

“I’ll be honest: if demand were so high that we were forced to withdraw the option to park the A380 again, I would be the happiest person. From today’s perspective, however, this is not yet necessary,” said Spohr.

Lufthansa has 14 Airbus A380s, all of which have been parked for extended periods due to the coronavirus pandemic. Six of these aircraft have already been sold back to Airbus.

They will return to the manufacturer between October 2022 and November 2023.

Surely the return to the Lufthansa route network of these aircraft would please many passengers and aviation geeks, but as we well know everything will depend on the costs that would be generated by the return of the A380 and above all the demand for flying that could cover them.

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