Small chance of return: The 777X delay is a glimmer of hope for Lufthansa’s A380

Lufthansa will have to wait until 2025 for its first Boeing 777X. The airline is therefore negotiating alternatives with the manufacturer. And the tone of the A380 also changes.

So far, Carsten Spohr has left no doubts on the super jumbo. “Of course, the A380 will not return,” the Lufthansa chief said in the summer of 2021 in an interview with analysts. At the beginning of April 2022, in an interview with Spiegel magazine, he reiterated: “It is finally over” and “He will not return to Lufthansa”.

Since then, however, Boeing has announced another delay in the 777-9, of which Lufthansa has ordered 20 units. The first of the jets is expected to arrive only in 2025. At the end of last year, deliveries should have started in 2023.

Discussions with Boeing about other models

Now Lufthansa needs a replacement. On the one hand, they are talking to the US aircraft manufacturer about “where Boeing can still help us, for example with additional aircraft of other types,” Spohr said on Thursday (May 5) in an interview with reporters. Furthermore, the market for used long-haul jets is still under observation.

Additionally, according to Spohr, Lufthansa is looking into: “What else do we have internally that can be flown in summer 2024 and summer 2025 – where we have to assume that capabilities cannot be transported by the 777X.” The scheduled buffer fleets are Airbus A340-300 and long-haul A340-600.

Spohr talks about “Option A380”

Then Spohr commented on the super jumbo. “Keyword A380: Since our position has not changed,” said the CEO. But then he added something that didn’t sound as definitive as before. “I tell you honestly: if the demand were so strong that I even had to retire the A380 option again, I would be the happiest person,” says Spohr. From today’s point of view, however, this is not yet necessary.

Lufthansa has 14 Airbus A380s, all long-term parked due to the Crown crisis. Six of these aircraft have already been resold to Airbus. They will return to the manufacturer between October 2022 and November 2023.

Very disappointing for all of us

In view of Boeing’s delays, Lufthansa’s CEO said: “We assume we will be paid for our patience.” Delays would always be converted into “some kind of financial concession”, for example into discounts. “That is why we can address the problem and with Boeing, even if it is very disappointing for all of us,” says Spohr.

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