It sounds like old news and it is. Lufthansa commented on the future order of 40 jets with up to 150 seats that it intends to close and which will be used by its new subsidiary, City Airlines.
According to Reuters, Carsten Spohr, CEO of the group, stated in an interview on November 2 that the company is studying the order of 40 Embraer E2 or Airbus A220 jets.
However, the chief executive himself had said the same information in a statement to employees almost a month ago while the airline announced the plan on October 25, when it presented its subsidiary’s livery for regional flights.
“While City Airlines will start operations with Airbus A319 aircraft, Lufthansa Group is currently also evaluating the possibility of using Airbus A220 or Embraer aircraft,” the carrier said.
Acquisition plan close to completing three years
Last Thursday’s news, therefore, did not bring anything new, despite having spread through the media. And Lufthansa has been planning to acquire smaller aircraft for a long time.
The German airline mentioned Embraer for the first time in February 2021 when Spohr revealed that he was talking to the Brazilian company about an order for jets, but without revealing data about a possible agreement.
The statement forced Embraer to go public to explain what was happening. The news caused shares on the stock exchange to rise at the time, causing some embarrassment for its shareholders, who were caught by surprise.
“The company has discussed the potential acquisition of aircraft with Lufthansa. Such discussions are not at an advanced stage, and there is no firm commitment to complete such sales in this
moment,” Embraer said at the time.
In November 2021, Lufthansa’s CEO told Bloomberg that he had requested proposals from Embraer and Airbus, again without specifying quantities and models.
Almost a year passed without any announcement until Spohr returned to the subject in an interview with Aviation Week. This time, he gave indications that the planes were urgent and that they would be a response to the market advancement of low-cost airlines.
To compete for space with them, Lufthansa then created City Airlines, a regional airline that should operate from Frankfurt and Munich as a feeder for the parent company’s flights.
The new company, however, was born amid controversy as it is also an attempt by the group to reduce labor costs, a weak point compared to budget airlines.
City Airlines will start flying in the summer of 2024 initially with old Airbus A319s while waiting for the future order.
When the decision will take place, Lufthansa does not yet say.