Lufthansa is emerging as one of the possible launch customers for Boeing’s proposed 777X. The airline is including the aircraft in its long-haul fleet evaluation that is to be decided later this year. The carrier is looking at the Airbus A350-900/1000, more Boeing 747-8s and the 777X, company sources say. The 787 is not under consideration as it is too small for Lufthansa’s requirements.
Boeing has never been able to place the 777 with Lufthansa, but the group made a first step on Thursday by confirming an order for six 777-300ERs that are to be operated by its subsidiary Swiss and will replace Airbus A340-300s. Company sources say that decision is a hint that Boeing has a good chance with its 777X proposal to beat the A350 in the race for Lufthansa’s medium-sized long-haul aircraft.
Boeing is expected to receive authority to offer the aircraft as soon as next month, as first reported by Aviation Week on March 11. Other airlines that are pushing Boeing for a quick decision include Qatar Airways and Emirates.
The German airline also added two Airbus A380s to its orderbook. The airline had previously ordered 17 aircraft, ten of which have already been delivered. The current long-haul fleet is made up of A380s, 747-8s, 747-400s, A340-300/600s and A330-300s. The A340s and 747-400s are the first models to be phased out over the next few years, followed by the A330-300s in the longer term.
Separately, Lufthansa opted for the A320/321NEO as the future backbone of its short-haul fleet. The supervisory board confirmed an order for 70 A320/321NEOs (new engine option) and 30 A320 family aircraft.
Lufthansa currently has outstanding orders for 236 new aircraft to be delivered until 2025. The A350/777X/747-8 campaign is not included yet.