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A380

Lufthansa Plans to Ground Airbus A380, Boeing 747-400

Lufthansa Plans to Ground Airbus A380, Boeing 747-400
Joe Cortez

German flag carrier Lufthansa is saying goodbye to some of their jumbo aircraft, as the COVID-19 pandemic forced an accelerated restructure of their fleet. The airline will permanently ground their Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-400 aircraft as part of a plan to phase out 115 aircraft types.

Lufthansa will join the growing number of airlines walking away from their jumbo intercontinental aircraft, after the COVID-19 pandemic seriously disrupted the aviation industry. In their 2020 annual report presentation, the company announced they would ground their fleet of Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-400 airframes as part of a 115-aircraft fleet reduction.

Airline Will Phase Out Eight Intercontinental Aircraft Types to Simplify Fleet

The Lufthansa fleet is one of the most complex worldwide, operating a number of different aircraft types from both Airbus and Boeing. According to the aviation giant, Lufthansa operates more than a dozen different intercontinental aircraft.

Under their restructuring plan, seven different airframes will be grounded, including the flyer-favorite Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-400. When Lufthansa resumes full international service, their only “very large” international aircraft will be the Boeing 747-8i.

Image courtesy: Lufthansa Group

Large and medium sized aircraft will drop from six different aircraft types to four. The airline will phase out the Boeing 777-200, along with several Airbus airframes, including their variety of A330s and A340-600.

Replacing them will be a combination of the Boeing 777 and 787 Dreamliner, along with the Airbus A330-300 and A350-900. In their annual report, Lufthansa Group says that the fleet modernization plan will help reduce costs by cutting down on fuel consumption, carbon dioxide emissions and noise pollution.

“The ongoing optimization of the group fleet has been accelerated as a result of the crisis,” the report reads. “Key targets are the systematic renewal of the fleet to cut fuel consumption, reduce carbon emissions and trim the number of aircraft models by retiring and phasing out older, less efficient aircraft, such as the Airbus A340-600 and A380.”

In total, the company expects to reduce their fleet by 150 aircraft by the time the pandemic ends.

Lufthansa Groundings Follows Trend of Retiring Big Aircraft

The move by Lufthansa follows an industry-wide trend of trading large aircraft for newer aircraft to reduce operating costs. In June 2020, Air France operated their final Airbus A380 flight, while British Airways announced the abrupt retirement of their entire Boeing 747 fleet one month later.

View Comments (7)

7 Comments

  1. edgewood49

    March 4, 2021 at 4:51 pm

    Joe, this really should not come as a surprise for most FF’ers out there. It appears there will be an overall reduction in seat capacity for the near future due to the Covid 19 / vaccination time line as well as allowing for the newer more efficient planes to come on line. Where this all leads us I am not sure you might have a better idea which would be a great idea for you. I like many “senior” FF’ers will miss the “Queen of the Skies” (747) especially the BA version which had the best business class going.

    All this plus a great time for the airlines to rework their fleets with the much more efficient planes not sure of the overall percentage of savings but it is significant.

  2. Yoshi212

    March 4, 2021 at 8:37 pm

    Are they retiring LH Cargo 777s or Austrian’s 772s?

  3. Craig

    Craig

    March 5, 2021 at 7:36 am

    “… part of a plan to phase out 115 aircraft types”.

    They don’t have 115 aircraft types.

    It should have been “… part of a plan to phase out 115 aircraft”.

  4. model_un

    March 5, 2021 at 9:19 am

    I’ll miss the big birds… fortunate enough to have flown on all of them. First-class to boot… Auf Wiedersehen

  5. robertr

    March 5, 2021 at 4:03 pm

    Lucky 747-8 is saved

  6. ohiosux

    March 7, 2021 at 9:59 pm

    This isn’t totally accurate.

    “While that would indicate that the A380s are officially retired, diving deeper into the financial results makes it less certain that they are gone for good. Listing its current fleet types, Lufthansa notes that it still accounts for 14 A380s in its fleet, although six are scheduled for retirement. The other eight are still listed as ‘temporarily decommissioned’.”

  7. drvannostren

    March 9, 2021 at 5:01 am

    I’m a bit surprised that the 380s couldn’t/wouldn’t stay on for the India routes. During normal times it’s such a high load factor.

    I’m gonna miss seeing those 747s, not so much flying them. Didn’t know they were buying 789s as well.

    Overall it makes sense, but it’s a bit of a bummer, especially as someone who works at an airport, the homogenization of types is lame. We had a bunch of 747s here, then two of em switched types, now it seems the other 2 are dropping them in BA and LH. We also only had 1 consistent 380 and that was BA seasonal. Just kinda stinks that everyone flies the 787…but such is life.

    I would hope that LH changes their product up a bit. IIRC I saw plans for a new J class on the 77X but I’m not sure if that got dropped or not. I’ve not flown LH J partly because of the YQ on awards but also because it just looks like crap. In 2021 business class pax should not have to step over the person next to them sleeping.

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