Lufthansa Group is taking the opportunity to slim down its fleet, with plans to decommission some of its long haul and short-haul fleet, as well as seal the fate of Germanwings.
Lufthansa Airbus A80 and Boeing 747-400 at Frankfurt Airport – Image, Economy Class and Beyond
The group will park permanently the following:
- 11 Airbus A320 + 10 from Eurowings
- Three Airbus A340-300 from Lufthansa Cityline
- Seven Airbus A340-600
- Six Airbus A380
- Five Boeing Boeing 747-400
The group has taken the view that travel will not pick up to levels before COVID-19 very quickly – with months before global travel restrictions are lifted and years before demand returns to the pre-crisis level.
Breaking down the withdrawals, the six A380s were due to be sold back to Airbus in 2022 (and thus, this has been accelerated). The A340-600 and Boeing 747-400 withdrawal has been based on the cost of running these four-engined aircraft. Unsurprisingly, this will result in a major cut in capacity in Frankfurt and Munich.
The A340-300 cuts are interesting, as they are operated by Lufthansa Cityline. The regional carrier has been running the type to long-haul network destinations since 2015 and it seems this is no longer viable in the current environment.
The cuts at other Business Units
Eurowings and Germanwings will face some harsh cuts, with 10 Airbus aircraft being cut from the Eurowings fleet.
Meanwhile, flights operating under the Germanwings unit will be discontinued and operated under Eurowings. Also, the long haul network of Eurowings will be cut back too.
Eurowings will also be reducing the number of its aircraft. In the short-haul segment, an additional ten Airbus A320s are planned to be phased out.
The restructuring programs already initiated at Austrian Airlines and Brussels Airlines will be further intensified due to the COVID-19 situation. Among other things, both companies are working on reducing their fleets.
SWISS International Air Lines will also adjust its fleet size by delaying deliveries of new short-haul aircraft and consider early phase-out of older aircraft.
In addition, the Lufthansa Group airlines have already terminated almost all wet-lease agreements with other airlines, bringing all capacity in-house.
Opinion: A slow recovery when it comes
Parking over 40 aircraft is a poor sign in any market – and it doesn’t represent good news from one of Europe’s largest aviation groups when it chooses to park this amount of capacity permanently.
With Lufthansa Group expecting a very slow return to “normal”, it seems a prudent measure for the group to remove older aircraft at this time that will cost a lot more to bring into service, whilst maintaining a right-sized fleet.
And you can bet the other European Airline groups will follow along with this action shortly.
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