Rival Lufthansa is also in the process of ordering similar numbers of long-haul jets. The German airline has to replace close to 30 747-400s as well as 24 A340-300s and 24 A340-600s. According to CEO Christoph Franz, the airline is analyzing the A350-900/-1000 and the 777-8X, plus the larger versions of the 787. The airline has been a key backer of the 787-10X, which has yet to be launched, and has made clear that the 787-8 is too small for its requirements.
Franz defends the decision to not have tackled replacement of the A340-300/-600 and 747 fleets earlier. He says such a move only makes sense when newer-technology aircraft become available, which has so far not been the case.
Lufthansa is also interested in the 777-8X, the equivalent of the 777-300ER, saying it is still in the process of taking delivery of 19 747-8s in what would be the 777-9X-size category. Franz says the -9X could become an option in the long term, but will likely only become available when the 747-8 is largely written off. He claims that would make the aircraft economically viable, even when the more efficient large twin arrives.
Air France signed a preliminary commitment for 25 A350s (and 25 787s) in 2011, but the A350 order has not yet been firmed up because the airline has been unable to reach an agreement with Rolls-Royce over maintenance rights for the Trent XWB engines. Air France operates 50 777-200/-300ERs, among them 18 early -200ERs. It also has 13 A340-300s and 15 A330-200s that will need to be replaced, at least in the medium term.