By Charlotte Seet
Lufthansa Adds Four Additional Airbus A350s
The thought of the end of the pandemic brings forth a great hint of uncertainty, and passenger demand remains just as volatile as new waves of infections and border restrictions.
As airlines worldwide continue to review their portfolios, some have to consider leasing out part of their fleet to cut on cost and as an effort to raise funds.
This means that aircraft are still currently available in the leasing market at preferable low rates, allowing for more successful airlines to pounce on the chance for a lower-expensed fleet expansion.
One such airline taking advantage of the lower lease costs will be Frankfurt-based Lufthansa Group, which has a plan to speed up the modernization of its fleet. The group has signed leases for an additional four Airbus A350-900 supplied by lessors Avolon, SMBC Aviation Capital Ltd. and Goshawk.
Due to be delivered by the beginning of 2022, the inclusion of the four new members will total the Group’s A350 fleet to 21. The new jets are expected to operate with the core brand of Lufthansa to strengthen the main carrier’s premium services.
Lufthansa already has an order for 45 A350-900s from Airbus, and added an additional order of five jets in May. The airline currently operates 17 A350 jets.
The orders are part of the Group’s current long-term fleet modernization program that will see the Group taking delivery of over 170 short, medium, and long-haul aircraft within this decade alone.
According to Lufthansa, the much more fuel efficient A350s are expected to replace its predecessors, the quad-engined long-haul Airbus A340 family, and eventually, the Boeing 747 family as well.
As Chief Executive Carsten Spohr mentioned in a press release, “Fleet modernization, in my view, is one pillar to cope with sustainability challenges.”
Prior to the pandemic, the A340s took up approximately 50% of Lufthansa’s long-haul fleet, but this number has since significantly reduced due to lack of demand and eventual redundancy.
Despite demand coming back and the frequency of flights increasing, the operating cost of older aircraft types such as the A340s still prove to not be as economical as their soon-to-be successors. The twin-engined new-generation aircraft are much cheaper to operate when compared to the quad-jet ancestors, as Lufthansa reports a reduced operating cost of up to 15 percent with the A350.
“The Airbus A350 is one of the most modern aircraft of our time. Extremely fuel-efficient, very quiet and much more economical than its predecessors. Our customers appreciate not only the sustainability but also the premium flight experience with this aircraft. The lease agreements allow us to remain flexible in fleet planning and make the most of exceptional market opportunities,” Dr. Detlef Kayser, Member of the Executive Board Deutsche Lufthansa AG, said in a press release.
However, as much as the quad-jets days are numbered, Lufthansa is still reactivating aircraft such as the Boeing 747-400 to meet the current growing travel demand as it awaits the deliveries of newer aircraft.