German airline conglomerate Lufthansa could be the latest carrier do dump their entire fleet of jumbo jets. According to insiders speaking out anonymously, the airline is putting together a plan to retire all of their Boeing 747-400s and Airbus A380 aircraft.
As international travel continues to suffer due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lufthansa could be the next carrier to get rid of their jumbo jets in favor of a slimmer, more fuel-efficient fleet. Bloomberg reports the airline is drawing up a plan to sunset all their Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-400 airframes.
Jumbo Jets and Older A340s Could be Grounded
According to company insiders speaking to the financial news organization under anonymity, the airline is considering ground all of their four-engine jumbo jets, along with the majority of their Airbus A340 aircraft.
The concern is that without borders opening up or a COVID-19 vaccine available to the public, the aircraft would not serve any purpose but to collect dust and burn more fuel compared to the next-generation airframes. Without high passenger demand, the German airline could focus on expanding their fleet of fuel-efficient aircraft, such as the Airbus A350.
If they move forward, it would remove at least 17 airframes from their fleet, moving the total number of grounded aircraft to over 100, with an anticipated job loss of 22,000 employees. To preserve capacity for a future comeback, the airline could potentially keep their younger Airbus A340-600 aircraft, along with the final commercial iteration of the “Queen of the Skies,” the Boeing 747-8I.
Spokespersons for Lufthansa have not publicly commented on the rumors.
COVID-19 Hits Lufthansa Harder Than Anticipated
As the European Commission recommends borders remain closed to much of the world, the airline sector has been hit harder than anticipated. Earlier in 2020, the airline negotiated a bailout with their biggest shareholder and the German government, assuring Lufthansa could continue to operate throughout the pandemic.
However, the airline is still hurting for money, and looking to save on operations wherever they can as the international travel market continues to sit at a standstill. The airline is planning to put over 300 aircraft in long-term storage in 2021, while cutting their entire fleet size down by at least 100 by 2023.
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