Lufthansa to consider A340-300 retirements

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Lufthansa Group is considering retiring its Airbus A340-300 fleet, says head of leasing Markus Ohlert.

The German group is currently phasing out three aircraft types and although the A340-300 model is not included, Ohlert leaves the door open for A340-300 phase-outs in the future. “We are thinking about -300s retirements,” he told delegates at Flightglobal’s Ascend Finance Forum in London today.

Over the next two years, Lufthansa will continue its retirement programme for Boeing 737s as the group takes more deliveries of Airbus A320-family aircraft. Between 2014 and 2016, the group is on course to take delivery of 147 A320-family jets.

It will also significantly reduce its regional fleet, especially 50- and 70-seat aircraft, as it upsizes with the Bombardier CSeries CS100 type over the next three years.

Ohlert says the Lufthansa Cargo fleet is also among the retirement candidates as the freight arm continues to phase in more Boeing 777Fs. “We have a fleet of 15 MD-11 freighters and the big question is what we are going to do with them,” he says.

A340-600s joined the Lufthansa fleet in 2009 and there are no imminent plans to retire the model from the fleet at this point in time, says Ohlert.

Through 2025, Lufthansa is to take delivery of 261 aircraft: 84 widebodies, 147 narrowbodies and 30 CSeries airliners.

So far this year, the group has closed Japanese operating lease with call option (JOLCO) financings on three A320 deliveries, says Ohlert. The volume of transactions is superior to $120 million, he adds.

Ohlert says Lufthansa closed more than $500 million worth of JOLCO financings last year, including four A319s, six A321s and one A380 delivery.

The group has closed 94 structured finance transactions over the past 15 years, among which are 69 JOLCO financings. Ohlert says Lufthansa expects to close more JOLCOs this year.