Lufthansa considering the Boeing 787
Over the last few days we’ve seen various airlines express interest in new aircraft from Airbus and Boeing, and now Lufthansa is joining the party by outlining their interest in the Boeing 787 or additional Airbus A350s.
Lufthansa is eyeing an order of about 20 aircraft and plans to make an announcement/finalization within the next few months. Like what most airlines do, Lufthansa has put forward their request to Airbus and Boeing for them to work out which suits their fleet requirements the best. Additionally, since the new aircraft are to help replace older aircraft, Lufthansa wants the winning manufacturer to take their thirsty A340s.
Airbus and Boeing are known to occasionally take back older models but the A340s are already low on numbers around the world and have little to no demand. Anyone that removes them is likely to have them stored for a long time or just scrapped.
With the A350 already in operation, it comes across as the logical solution as the airline can activate their 30 options from their 25 already on order without having to train pilots and other crews. Although Lufthansa has quite the fleet, the aim to reduce complexity has been a goal for quite some time.
The order for 34 Boeing 777-9s that was placed five years ago, however, does go against this goal and has been under intense review ever since. The idea of delaying deliveries of the aircraft for as long as possible has been brought up by the airline but no decision has been made.
Some have questioned whether Lufthansa would be willing to convert their 777-9 order to 787s. It all depends on what their contract allows and whether Boeing is willing to easily negotiate that kind of deal with the total of 273 within the order book.
So why would Lufthansa consider the Boeing 787?
By adding another fleet type, the total operating costs would rise but the ability to broaden their large-scale maintenance facilities means other airlines can use Lufthansa’s services. Additionally, the 787 offers the potential to operate any thin routes that are currently being served or are looking to be served by the airline.
Engine decision would be based off price offered by GE and RR as well as the desired performance, with the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000s performing best on short routes. Both engines would slide into their maintenance programs easily as the GEnx is featured on their Boeing 747-8 and the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 shares a large amount of commonality with the Trent XWB found on the A350.
Ultimately it will come down to price and the options Airbus and Boeing present. With Lufthansa‘s fleet of thirsty four-engine aircraft, the ability to select from two extremely competitive aircraft will prove useful for an airline that regrets investing in their fleet for two decades.
With roughly 1400 orders placed for the Boeing 787, the option of getting a decently timed delivery slot also acts as a large factor in the decision. With rumors within the aviation industry that Etihad Airways is expected to cancel or defer some of or all of their A350 order, Airbus will be willing to give out slots as quickly as possible, meaning a good price and deal could be on the line.