On 8th November, a Lufthansa Airbus A340-600 was forced to return twice to Boston following an abnormality on one of its engines. It seems that the issue with the affected engine wasn’t resolved after the first diversion.
The Airbus A340-600 with registration D-AIHP was performing flight LH425 from Boston to Munich. Flight LH425 departed Boston Logan International Airport at 8:18 pm local time, but stopped its climb out of Boston at 27,000 feet, initially without explaining. Shortly after, while the aircraft was about 190nm east of Boston, the crew decided to return to Boston following a technical failure.
After informing the ATC, the aircraft descended to 26,000 feet to dump some fuel off the coast and landed back on Boston’s runway 33L around an hour and 20 minutes after departure.
Following the first diversion, the engineers inspected the aircraft and gave the go-ahead for a second departure. In the early hours of 9th November, Flight LH425 again departed Boston after remaining on the ground for about 3.5 hours.
However, this time as well the crew stopped the climb at 27,000 feet reporting a minor engine issue and informed the ATC that they want to return to Boston again. The aircraft dumped fuel off the coast again and landed back on Boston’s runway 33L.
Eventually, the flight to Munich was cancelled – probably because even if the engine problem could be fixed, the crew would time out before the aircraft could get back in the air bound for Munich. As of November 10th, the aircraft is still on the ground awaiting clearance to fly back to its hub. The aircraft reportedly suffered a problem with its number 2 engine.
All passengers were accommodated on alternate flights and the aircraft is scheduled to head back to Munich without any passengers, as stated by the airline spokeswoman.
Lufthansa A340-600 Operation
In early 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lufthansa had planned to retire its fleet of Airbus A340-600s. However, as travel demand gradually started to recover, Lufthansa decided to reactivate five of its A340-600s configured in four-class; including the First Class seats.
Commencing in the summer of 2022, the A340-600s returned to service and have been flying from Munich primarily to destinations in the United States. Lufthansa’s A340-600s feature eight seats in a 1-2-1 configuration in First Class, along with Business Class, Premium Economy and Economy Class cabins.
Before the pandemic, the Lufthansa Airbus A340-600 fleet consisted of 17 aircraft; 12 of which are being sold and the remaining five will be in service for a limited time. This temporary move will come to an end when it will start taking delivery of its new A350-900s equipped with a first-class cabin. The first of these is due to be delivered in the summer of 2023 and will be based in Munich.
Lufthansa has planned to operate a one-in-one-out policy, which means that each time an Airbus A350-900 featuring first-class arrives, an A340-600 will be retired. Currently, Lufthansa is deploying its quad-jets primarily on flights to Boston, Miami and New York – JFK out of Munich. However, the A340-600s aren’t returning to Los Angeles and San Francisco for the time being.
Furthermore, we can expect more routes to get the first class in the summer of next year after Lufthansa will bring its A380s back to Munich, and starts taking delivery of at least 10 A350-900s with first-class cabins.
Sources: Aviation Herald, Lufthansa (Feature Image)