Sources claim the German flag carrier Lufthansa is mulling plans to scrap its entire fleet of Airbus A380 superjumbos and Boeing 747-400’s as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to decimate the aviation industry. Lufthansa had previously announced plans to retire some A380’s and 747-400’s but even deeper cuts are now being considered because it’s widely believed that travel demand won’t match the capacity these gas-guzzling aircraft offer for years to come.
Lufthansa has already said its fleet could be 100 aircraft smaller by the time the Corona crisis is over, although the latest cuts suggest even that figure was an underestimate. So far, the airline has announced the permanent grounding of the following aircraft:
- 6 Airbus A380’s
- 10 Airbus A340’s
- 5 747-400’s
- 22 Airbus A320’s
Lufthansa has declined to confirm whether it intends to scrap its remaining six A380’s and 17 Boeing 747-400’s. The quad-engined A340’s, A380’s and 747-400’s are inefficient, expensive to run and offer far too much capacity for the level of demand expected until at least 2023 to 2024.
Some newer A340 aircraft could remain, although no final decision has allegedly been taken.
If true, Lufthansa would be following the lead of Air France who has already decommissioned their fleet of nine A380s. British Airways is in the process of scrapping its 31-strong fleet of Boeing 747-400’s several years earlier than planned, while there are rumours the airline is also considering reducing its fleet of 12 A380’s by a third.
There are also conflicting reports about the future of the Emirates A380 fleet. The largest operator of the superjumbo in the world is said to be considering scrapping a third of its A380 fleet but the airline has publicly said it remains hopeful there is a market for its flagship aircraft. That, however, could depend on a vaccine against COVI-19 according to Emirates’ president Sir Tim Clark.
Should Lufthansa go ahead with more extensive fleet cuts than had been previously announced, the sources claim estimated job losses of 22,000 could be pushed even higher. The airline has, though, significantly reduced planned redundancies after negotiating deal with trade unions and taking advantage of state support.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.