JUSTIN WASTNAGE / LONDON

Resolution of Lufthansa's pilot wage dispute has cleared the way for the airline to order 15 Airbus A380-800s and four Boeing 747-400s. The airline has confirmed that the decision is to be discussed at the company's supervisory board meeting, set for this week. The order is expected to follow within weeks.

The German flag carrier says that it was not in a position to order any of the super-large aircraft when other European carriers did so earlier in the year, as it was unaware of the eventual cost of the wage dispute with the Vereinigung Cockpit pilots union. The airline says that it has been in negotiation with Airbus for the 15 aircraft since the beginning of the year, but that it first had to settle all unforecast costs.

The aircraft are set to start being delivered in 2007 and will be joined by four 747-400s for Lufthansa's long haul fleet. The aircraft will fly on trunk routes from its Frankfurt and Munich hubs.

The airline is not disclosing any price details of the deal, but it is understood that Airbus was keen to have a large fleet of the aircraft placed with one of its largest customers. The airline had previously only pointed towards ordering five or six of the aircraft, but is thought to have been convinced by demonstrations of yields and fuel efficiency.

It is unclear whether that Lufthansa managed to secure as large a discount as the launch customers, including Air France, Emirates, International Lease Finance, Qantas, Singapore Airlines, and Virgin, which benefited from a 30% cut in the catalogue price of $230 million per aircraft.

Source: Flight International