Lufthansa will retire many 747s, A340s and A380s ahead of schedule

In the long winter ahead for aviation ahead, different airlines are reacting differently to the situation, trying to find out the way they will move forward after putting the CoVid-19 pandemic behind them.

For Lufthansa (not just the airline but the group), the Executive Board has concluded that the aviation industry won’t be returning to pre-CoVid-19 levels very quickly. The board assessed that it would take months until the global travel restrictions are entirely lifted and years until the worldwide demand for air travel returns to pre-crisis levels.  Based on this evaluation, Lufthansa has decided on extensive measures to reduce the capacity of flight operations and administration long term. These decisions affect the Lufthansa Group. In short, expect a smaller, nimbler Lufthansa to emerge out of this crisis.

Lufthansa will accelerate the retirement of eighteen 4-engine widebodies

At Lufthansa, six Airbus A380s (out of 14), and seven A340-600s (out of 17), as well as five Boeing 747-400s(out of 13), will be permanently decommissioned.

The six A380s were already scheduled for sale to Airbus in 2022. The decision to phase out seven A340-600s and five Boeing 747-400s was taken based on the environmental as well as economic disadvantages of these aircraft types. With this decision, Lufthansa will be reducing capacity at its hubs in Frankfurt and Munich.

Furthermore, Lufthansa Cityline will also withdraw three Airbus A340-300 aircraft from service. Since 2015, the regional carrier has been operating flights to long-haul tourist destinations for Lufthansa.

Lufthansa Group’s low-cost carrier, Eurowings, will also be seeing some reductions. Eurowings long-haul business which is run under the commercial responsibility of Lufthansa will also be reduced.

Lufthansa Group will withdraw various short-haul aircraft

lufthansa schliesst germanwings

While some of the long-haul aircraft are heading out of the fleet, Lufthansa Group also expects short-haul demand to be not back very soon. Lufthansa, the airline, will withdraw eleven Airbus A320s from short-haul operations.

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. Besides, Germanwings flight operations will be discontinued and unified into Eurowings.

Group airlines Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and SWISS, will be affected

The restructuring programs already initiated at Austrian Airlines and Brussels Airlines will be further intensified due to the coronavirus crisis. 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. The exact details are awaited.

Also, the Lufthansa Group airlines have already terminated almost all wet-lease agreements with other airlines.


Understandably, airlines are now starting to think straight, and they know that demand won’t be back anytime soon to full potential. Lufthansa states that they are going to try and retain as many employees as possible within the Lufthansa Group. And while they do that, some of the aircraft will have to go, much quicker than they were supposed to.

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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