By Charlotte Seet
Lufthansa to Reinstate Five A340-600s For First Class Cabins to Munich
As an inevitable result of the Covid-19 global pandemic, many international airlines have had to prematurely shortened the operating lifespan of their aircraft fleet, sending the majority either to long-term storage or retiring an entire fleet completely.
The German national carrier Lufthansa was also a victim of such tragedy, having announced back in September of 2020 that as a result of declining passenger numbers and worsening outlook, the airline had to further reduce its fleet size.
Prior to the pandemic, the airline was operating a total of fourteen Airbus A380s and seventeen Airbus A340-600s, making Lufthansa the largest airline operator for the latter aircraft type.
After the initial fleet reduction, Lufthansa took six A380s and seven A340-600s out of service for permanent retirement.
The fleet reduction in September shrunk the airline’s fleet even more as it resulted in the having of all of its A380s being removed from planning, alongside the remaining ten of its A340-600s too.
Lufthansa mentioned then that it would only be reactivated should the market make a quick recovery.
Fortunately, the promising pace of vaccination programs worldwide has resulted in more borders being reopened for the summer holidays, allowing for Lufthansa to announce on Friday, June 25, about its plans to reinstate a handful of its grounded Airbus A340-600 aircraft fleet by next year.
The included type includes five of the ten A340-600 aircraft that are currently sitting in long-term storage, and they will be based in Munich for the summer of 2022 – conducting flight operations to destinations in Asia and North America as per pre-Covid schedules – before being eventually retired and sold off after the summer of 2023.
Reinstating the A340-600s allows for Lufthansa to improve its premium services and offer First Class services on its long-haul flights from Munich Airport, a reaction from the airline to the growing premium demand for both business and leisure travel.
Besides the A340-600s, Lufthansa only offers First Class services on its Boeing 747-8s and they are currently based in Frankfurt, as well as the Airbus A380s which are in storage.
The reinstatement of the A380s would be too costly as compared to the A340-600s. Hence, without the reinstatement of the A340-600s, the airline would not be able to offer First Class services out of Munich just yet.
With the reinstated five A340-600s, that leaves Lufthansa with the remaining twelve aircraft, which it is in the midst of trying to sell off.
To replace the pre-loved aircraft type within its fleet, the airline has made a purchase deal for ten additional long-haul aircraft, which includes five Airbus A350-900s and five Boeing 787-900s, with the first ones set to operate this winter.
Additionally, the A350s are set to be retrofitted with First Class cabins and will be the successors of the A340-600s when based in Munich during the late summer of 2023, once again allowing for Lufthansa to offer its First Class services then.
In 2021 alone, Lufthansa has also been taking delivery every month of the Airbus A320neo, with an additional 107 aircraft planned for delivery by 2027.
The airline’s continuous efforts to invest in the modernization of its fleet for more fuel-efficient aircraft can be stemmed from its pledge for carbon neutrality and its commitment to climate-friendly aviation.