Lufthansa Group reveals future fleet strategy

As it reports a near €7 billion loss for 2020, the airline group shares its plan for simplifying and modernising its roster

Lufthansa Group’s fleet is set to be reduced by around 150 aircraft as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the firm’s annual investor report has revealed. 

The Cologne-based airline group aims to standardise and reduce the number of models its carriers use through retirements and new procurements. 

All 14 of the company's Airbus A380s are currently in storage. Aviation Image Network/BaoLuo

During 2020, the fleet shrank year-on-year by only six aircraft after 22 new airframes were added compared with 28 retirements. 

Fleet additions included 18 new aircraft (two Boeing 777Fs, two Airbus A350-900s, three A321neos and eleven A320neos) and four used A320ceos. 

Lufthansa took delivery of two Airbus A350-900s last year. Aviation Image Network/Bailey

In contrast, 19 examples were sold during the year including three Boeing MD-11Fs, three 747s, four A320s, two A319s and seven De Havilland Canada Dash 8 turboprops. Leases were also terminated for nine aircraft. 

dash 8
Austrian Airlines offloaded seven of its Dash 8s during 2020. Aviation Image Network/Bailey

To achieve its goal of reducing the fleet by 150 airframes, Lufthansa will primarily focus its retirements on older aircraft types. 

As previously reported, three 767s are due to go at Austrian Airlines, while three A330-200s will exit at Brussels Airlines. 

Three of Austrian Airlines' Boeing 767-300ERs are due to be retired. Aviation Image Network/Bailey

In addition, a trio of A319s at SWISS, five A321s at Eurowings and seven Bombardier CRJs at Lufthansa Cityline will also be retired. 

Swiss International Air Lines' eight A319-100s are due to be retired. Aviation Image Network/Bailey

Nine A340-600s and six A380s at Lufthansa German Airlines are expected to go, while ten and eight, respectively remain in long-term storage.  

The decision was also taken to immediately sell individual aircraft including seven A340-600s, five 747-400s and most notably, 40 aircraft of the Airbus A320 family. 

Lufthansa Group also plans the complete retirement of its MD-11Fs. Aviation Image Network/Simon Gregory

The overarching aim of strategy is to simplify the airline group’s fleet and reduce the number of long-haul types from 14 to eight by no later than the middle of the decade. 

The complete retirement of the 747-400s, 777-200s, A340-600s, A340-300s, A330-200s, 767-300s and MD-11Fs will help Lufthansa achieve this goal. 

As a result, the firm expects significant cost savings in the areas of crew training, maintenance and operations. 

Lufthansa Group fleet orders
Long-haul fleet Fixed orders Deliveries Options
Airbus A350 26 2023-2029 10
Boeing 787 20 2022-2025 20
Boeing 777 20 2023-2025 24
Boeing 777F 1 2024 1
Short-haul fleet
Airbus A220 1 2021 30
Airbus A320 69 2021-2026 17
Airbus A321 40 2021-2026 N/A
Total aircraft 177 2021-2029 102

Lufthansa Group owns around 87% of its fleet while only 13% is leased. Around 90% of the owned roster is unencumbered including the 361 aircraft in companies that were pledged as part of last year’s state stabilisation measures and loans of up to €9 billion from the German, Belgium, Austrian and Switzerland governments aimed at recapitalising the group to prevent insolvency. 

At the end of 2020, Lufthansa Group’s fleet comprised 757 aircraft with an average age of 12.5 years.