Lufthansa Group plans a basic, common specification for new aircraft types at its airline subsidiaries to streamline purchasing, operation and maintenance of the future fleet.
The project is part of Lufthansa's cost cutting and revenue improvement programme "Score" and is led by the group fleet management division in Frankfurt in cooperation with Swiss International Air Lines.
While the wholly-owned subsidiaries Lufthansa, Germanwings, Austrian Airlines, Swiss and part-owned Brussels Airlines have thus far equipped their aircraft according to their individual specifications, the plan is to unify fleet requirements and achieve savings through, for example, aggregated aircraft orders, says Volker Rothmann, manager at Lufthansa, in the airline's internal employee newspaper.
Harmonising engine models for an aircraft type could simplify MRO activities and spare part provisioning, while a common cockpit specification would allow shared flight training. Mandatory aircraft documentation could also be reduced with fewer equipment variations, and mid-life modifications rolled across the fleet.
The new strategy is to be employed for aircraft such as the Airbus A320neo, Bombardier Cseries and potential future orders for the A350 and Boeing 787.
The individual group airlines are now working out their aircraft requirements, which should then be harmonised as far as possible.
Certain differences are expected to continue, however. While Lufthansa passenger aircraft have, for example, been equipped with cargo loading systems and air conditioned cargo compartments to transport belly freight for the group's cargo division, the costly and heavy installations were thus far not needed by the budget carrier Germanwings.
Martin Brodbeck, a captain at Swiss who is involved in the project, says that finding a comprehensive standard for all group airlines is a "myth".