I’ve been secretly holding out hope that sufficient demand will return such that Lufthansa, against all odds, will be bring back the A380 into service. But with its latest aircraft order, that possibility becomes even more unlikely.
Lufthansa Orders More 787s + A350s, Assures Grim Future For A380
Last November, Lufthansa announced it was highly unlikely that its Airbus A380 would ever return to service. While Lufthansa stopped short of literally retiring its eight remaining superjumbo jets, it proclaimed:
“Based on current fleet planning and the resolutions taken by the management boards, the assumption is that five Boeing B747s, eight Airbus A380s, 17 Airbus A340s and eleven Airbus A320s…will be retired permanently.”
Strong language, but not an official retirement. And thus I held out hope that with swift vaccinations rollouts, travel demand would return by 2022 and the A380 would enter service once again for Lufthansa.
But yesterday’s aircraft order practically assures the death of the Lufthansa A380. Lufthansa already has orders for 20 Boeing 787 Dreamliners and 40 additional Airbus A350-900s on the book. Now Lufthansa has increased each order by five aircraft and accelerated it delivery schedule.
The first 787s will be delivered by the first half of 2022, meaning we’ll see a new business class product (but not the new business class product) first on the Dreamliner and as early as late 2021.
Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr noted:
“Even in these challenging times, we are continuing to invest in a more modern, more efficient and a lower emission Lufthansa Group fleet. At the same time, we are pushing ahead with the modernization of our long-haul fleet even faster than planned prior to the coronavirus pandemic due to anticyclical opportunities. The new aircraft are the most modern of their kind. We want to further expand our global leadership role, among other things, with cutting-edge premium products and a state-of-the-art fleet – especially because we have a responsibility to the environment.”
Translation: Goodbye A380
While news that Lufthansa will take additional 787s and A350s is exciting, the latest orders all but officially confirms the death of the A380. With focus on “modern” aircraft with “responsibility to the environment” it is now so unlikely the four-engine A380 will return that it would take nothing short of a miracle to bring it back.