Lufthansa saves remaining A380s, but… why the future of the ‘whale’ is in danger


September 21, 2020 / Lufthansa (LH) won’t remove permanently from service the eight remaining Airbus A380 it has in the fleet. Fear had spread among aviation enthusiasts that, after Air France (AF), also the German giant was about to get rid of its super Jumbos, six of which had been taken out of service a few months ago as a consequence of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The executive board of LH Group decided that “the remaining eight A380s and ten A340-600s, which were previously intended for flight service, will be transferred to long-term storage and removed from planning. These aircraft will only be reactivated in the event of an unexpectedly rapid market recovery. In addition, the remaining seven Airbus A340-600s will be permanently decommissioned”.

So, LH’s A380s have been saved temporarily, but it is not known if and when they will return to active service. The decision of the board is the consequence of an updated evaluation of traffic demand in the fourth quarter of the year: a note by the LH Group specifies that “the previous assumption that an average production level of 50 percent of the previous year’s value would be reached in the fourth quarter of the year no longer seems realistic. If the current trend continues, the available seat kilometres will probably only be in a range between 20 and 30 percent, compared to the previous year”, adding that “the medium term fleet planning will be adjusted and currently foresees  a permanent, Group-wide capacity reduction of 150 aircraft by the middle of this decade (starting point is the Group fleet including wet-leased aircraft).

The fleet decisions mentioned above will result in a further impairment of up to EUR 1.1 billion. The amount is expected to be accounted for in the third quarter of the current year. (Photo Lufthansa)

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