Boeing 777-9 delay makes Lufthansa consider return of Airbus A380

German carrier keeps 14 two-deck aircraft in storage, which can be put back into service to keep up with increased air travel demand

Lufthansa Group CEO Carsten Spohr changed his speech towards the A380, the largest passenger aircraft in the world. In a conference call about the results of the first quarter of this year, held on Thursday, the head of the German carrier made a point of remembering the company still has “14 A380s sitting in Spain”.

In 2020, at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, which brought down passenger air traffic in the world, Spohr had decreed the end of operations with the Airbus A380.

The CEO’s mention of the two-deck aircraft came after he was asked by analysts whether the delay in deliveries of the Boeing 777-9, of which Lufthansa has 20 firm orders, would affect the German company’s ability to keep up with growth in air travel demand.

In April, the US planemaker confirmed yet another delay in the debut of the new generation 777, which should only hit the market in 2025.

“I tell you honestly: if the demand were so strong that I even had to withdraw the A380 option again, I would be the happiest person,” said the German group’s chief executive, adding that this has not yet happened.

Lufthansa´s Boeing 777-9 rendering

Unpredictable future

Spohr said airlines in the Lufthansa Group (which includes Germanwings, Eurowings, Austrian Airlines and Swiss International Airlines, in addition to Lufthansa) are expected to reach 75% of pre-pandemic capacity by the end of this year, although this is “subject to developments in war in Ukraine”.

Before send its A380 to Spain, the German company had already planned to return six of those four-engines to Airbus, in a resale process that will be completed by the end of next year.

Even without confirming a possible return of the A380 to the revenue service, the CEO of Lufthansa left the impression that the company may not yet have a definitive position on the fate of the Airbus double-decker plane, especially while the new 777-9 does not reach your fleet.


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