Faced with the impact of the coronavirus crisis on its operation, Lufthansa announced on Tuesday to retire several planes from its fleet, including six Airbus A380 and five Boeing 747-400, its largest models. In addition to the two jets, seven A340-600 and eleven A320 that were used on short-haul routes will be taken out of service.
“The Executive Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG does not expect the aviation industry to return to pre-coronavirus crisis levels very quickly. According to its assessment, it will take months until the global travel restrictions are completely lifted and years until the worldwide demand for air travel returns to pre-crisis levels”, says the company statement.
In addition to Lufthansa’s planes, the group will also withdraw three A340-300s that were used by Lufthansa Cityline on tourist flights out of service.
The subsidiary Germanwings, in turn, will have part of its operation absorbed by Lufthansa and its brand will cease to exist. Other member companies, Swiss, Austrian and Brussels Airlines will also cut their network and fleet in addition to postponing deliveries of new aircraft.
A380 will be sold to Airbus in 2022
Lufthansa had already announced in July 2019 that it would sell six of its 14 A380 back to Airbus in 2022, but the intention was to keep them in operation until then. Now, it is not known what the fate of these aircraft will be until this happens. Less efficient, the Boeing 747-400 will still have nine units in the airline’s fleet, in addition to other more efficient 19 Boeing 747-8.
As for the A340, the four-engine jet is still numerous in the company, with 17 units of both the A340-300 and the A340-600, the largest capacity variant. They are being replaced by the A350-900, but they should remain in the fleet for a long time to come.
Lufthansa’s announcement is expected to be followed by numerous airlines amid the brutal drop in passenger air traffic. With prospects for a slow resumption of flights, it is likely that most of the world’s commercial aircraft fleet will end up inactive, causing billions of dollars of damage to their owners and affecting demand for new aircraft as well.
Update: the article was edited on April 10 to correct the misinformation that Eurowings would stop flying but Germanwings