Lufthansa has decided to go ahead with an order for 15 Airbus A380-800s after earlier delaying the decision following the US terrorist attacks.

The German airline had been expected to confirm the order in mid-September following the resolution of a long-running wage dispute with pilots (Flight International, 18-24 September). However, following the 11 September attacks, all major aircraft purchases were put on hold.

A deal has now been hammered out with Airbus for 15 aircraft which brings total announced A380 orders (and commitments for firm orders) to 97 aircraft from nine customers. The figure is just short of Airbus's stated year-end target of 100 orders. Deliveries to Lufthansa will commence in the third quarter of 2007.

The timing of the airline's decision to go ahead with the order has caused some surprise, but Lufthansa chairman Jurgen Weber's comments about the deal suggest that it secured favourable terms: "Long co-operation between Lufthansa and Airbus facilitated agreement between the two on contractual details, which made it possible for the airline to make its buy decision now despite the difficult economic situation," he says.

No engine selection has been made, with Rolls-Royce and the General Electric/Pratt & Whitney joint venture Alliance competing for the order.

Source: Flight International