Lufthansa has boosted its order book with the addition of 20 Boeing 787-9s and 20 Airbus A350-900s to be delivered between 2022 and 2027.
The German flag carrier announced the order on Wednesday (European time). The aircraft have been earmarked to replace ageing four-engined widebodies such as its A340-300, A340-500, A340-600 fleet.
The 787-9 will be a new type for Lufthansa. In 2013, the airline ordered ordered 25 A350-900s, with 12 already delivered.
Lufthansa also announced on Wednesday it six of its 14 A380s would be sold back to Airbus, with the aircraft to be withdrawn in 2022 and 2023.
The airline said the decision to reduce its A380 fleet was made for economic reasons.
“The structure of the network and the long-haul fleet, fundamentally optimized according to strategic aspects, will give the company more flexibility and at the same time increase its efficiency and competitiveness,” Lufthansa said in a statement.
“This will of course also benefit Lufthansa’s customers.”
Airbus announced in February it was closing the A380 production line amid a lack of orders and after Emirates chose to cut back its commitment to the aircraft. Deliveries will end in 2021.
Currently, Lufthansa is the third-largest operator of the A380 behind Emirates (101) and Singapore Airlines (19).
Lufthansa said in a factsheet the 787-9 would be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines and have between 250-300 seats in various classes, depending on which part of the Lufthansa group of airlines it will fly with.
Meanwhile, the A350-900s currently flying with Lufthansa were configured with 293 seats comprising 48 in business, 21 in premium economy and 224 in economy.
VIDEO: A look at the building of Lufthansa’s first Airbus A350-900 from the airline’s YouTube channel.
Lufthansa said the A350-900 and 787-9, along with the 20 777-9X it had on order, represented “most fuel-efficient long-haul aircraft of their class in terms of kerosene consumption per passenger and 100 kilometers flown”.
“By replacing four-engine planes with new models, we are laying a sustainable foundation for our future in the long run,” Lufthansa Group chief executive Carsten Spohr said in a statement.
“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.”
Lufthansa was one of the first airlines to order the 777-9X. In February, it said the first aircraft was due to be delivered in July 2020.
(The April 2019 edition of Australian Aviation magazine will include a feature story on the Airbus A380. It will be on sale at newsstands March 28 and available online here.)