Lufthansa Group needs up to 50 new aircraft deliveries per year to maintain its market position, says Lufthansa German Airlines chief executive Carsten Spohr.
The airline requires about 28 deliveries to replace ageing aircraft and another roughly 20 deliveries to maintain a 3% to 4% growth rate across the group annually, he tells Flightglobal in Frankfurt on 31 May.
The Lufthansa Group includes Austrian Airlines, Germanwings, Lufthansa and Swiss, as well as a 45% stake in Brussels Airlines.
"It's easily a 40 to 50 aircraft per year need just so we stay on track with our strategy - maintaining market share, maintaining aircraft age [and], at the same time, maintaining financially solvent investment structures," says Spohr.
Lufthansa is in midst of reviewing alternatives from Airbus and Boeing for a large widebody aircraft order, which are expected by the end of the year. It is looking at the Airbus A350, Boeing 787-9 and -10, and 777-8X and 777-9X for its long-range widebody needs.
The order would replace the carrier's fleet of 65 Airbus A340-300 and -600 aircraft.
"The aircraft decisions are such an important decision for an airline, [that] the timing is definitely subordinate to the right decision," says Spohr. "This is potentially the biggest aircraft order in Lufthansa history."
Asked whether Lufthansa was leaning towards any particular aircraft or manufacturer, Spohr jokes: "Before I can tell you, I think I need to tell either Mr. McNerney or Mr. Enders. Both will get a call and one will be happy and one won't."
The airline began negotiations on an order for 100 A320neo and A321neo aircraft in March. It also ordered two Airbus A380s and six Boeing 777-300ERs at the time.
The carrier has narrowbody orders for one A319, 17 A320s, 25 A320neos, two A321s, five A321neos and 30 CS100s, the last of which are bound for Swiss, according to Flightglobal's Ascend Online database.
Note: An earlier version of this article attributed the quotes to Christoph Franz, chief executive of Lufthansa Group.