Lufthansa silent on reported plan to split widebody order

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Lufthansa has declined to comment on media reports about its pending widebody order, which is likely to be revealed after the airline’s supervisory meeting on 18 September.

The German flag carrier wants to replace its ageing Airbus A340s and Boeing 747-400s, and is negotiating with both manufacturers about the A350, 787-9 and -10, plus the yet-to be-launched, next-generation 777X series, as candidates for its future long-haul fleet below the very large A380 and 747-8.

Referring to unnamed sources, a number of outlets have reported that Lufthansa is planning to split the order between the two airframers. But the airline claims that no decision has yet been made and that “intensive discussions” with both manufacturers are still ongoing.

Lufthansa’s supervisory board is to meet on 18 September.

Former chairman Jürgen Weber said in March that a decision about the long-range aircraft order would be taken in the fourth quarter.

Lufthansa has thus far resisted the 777 series for its mainline passenger arm in favour of the A340. The carrier strongly supported Airbus’s development of a four-engined long-haul aircraft during the 1980s, and became launch customer for the initial A340-200 variant, which entered service in 1993.

However, the 777 has made a late entry into the airline group through subsidiaries. Wholly owned Swiss International Air Lines ordered six 777-300ERs in March to replace A340s, while Lufthansa Cargo has selected the freighter variant to succeed an ageing Boeing MD-11F fleet.

Five 777Fs have been ordered by the cargo carrier. The first two are to be delivered by year-end.

The type is also being employed by AeroLogic, a Leipzig-based 50:50 cargo joint venture between Lufthansa and Deutsche Post.

Austrian Airlines operates four 777-200ERs, although the General Electric GE90-powered aircraft came to the fleet through the acquisition of former rival carrier Lauda Air in 2000.