DUBAI: 777-9X to "nicely" complement 747-8, says Lufthansa

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Lufthansa has re-iterated that it will not replace its Boeing 747-8s with 777-9X widebodies, which are to be delivered to the airline from 2020.

The German carrier ordered 34 777-9X and 25 Airbus A350-900 aircraft in September, ahead of the former’s official launch at Dubai air show.

While Lufthansa has long resisted the 777 family – preferring the four-engined A340 series over the twinjet – Nico Buchholz, executive vice-president for group fleet management, says that “we have followed the 777-300ER since the early days” and it worked “very nicely”.

The model entered service with Air France in 2004.

“We look forward to getting a very mature aircraft,” Buchholz says with regard to the 777-9X order.

He dismisses speculation that Lufthansa could replace 747-8s with the new type. “We will replace part of our 747-400 fleet [with the 777-9X], but not the 747-8,” he says.

When the parallel 777-9X and A350 orders were placed, Lufthansa said that the twinjets had been selected to replace 747-400s and A340s.

Given that the 747-8 is 10-15% larger than the 777-9X, both types will complement each other, he says.

Buchholz also defends the airline’s choice to continue operating four-engined aircraft, because those types provided more freedom on performance-restricted routes to certain airports.

Lufthansa has ordered 19 747-8s and 14 A380s, and plans to continue operating A340-600s when the new twinjets join the fleet.