The Supervisory board of Lufthansa, Airbus’ biggest airline customer and operator, has decided to expand and modernise its long-haul fleet with a commitment for up to 55 A350-900 aircraft (25 firm and 30 options). Lufthansa also has the flexibility to convert some of the order to the larger A350-1000.
This landmark A350 order comes just six months after Lufthansa made the strategic decision to become an all-Airbus operator for its single-aisle fleet. So far in 2013, Airbus has won more firm orders from Lufthansa (125) in a single year than ever before. Taking all commitments (firm and options) into account the figure rises to 232 aircraft – one more than the 231 Airbus aircraft currently in operation with the Lufthansa Airline.
‘’The A350 XWB suits Lufthansa’s entire network regarding size and range, and will be key to modernising our fleet while significantly reducing operational costs and our environmental footprint,” said Nico Buchholz, Executive Vice President, Lufthansa Group Fleet Management. “These quiet and fuel-efficient aircraft will fit nicely into our existing Airbus fleet, and our passengers will be able to enjoy seamless service and comfort levels throughout our entire product range.”
“We are honoured that such a long-standing and prestigious customer as Lufthansa is coming back for more Airbus aircraft,” said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers. “The all-new A350 XWBs, will integrate very well into the Group’s existing Airbus fleet. From the A319 to the A380 size category, Lufthansa will benefit from latest technologies and efficiency levels, an unmatched wider cabin, operational flexibility and cost-savings – enhanced by the unique fleet commonality only Airbus offers.”
Lufthansa’s decision today underpins the Group’s status as Airbus’ largest airline customer and operator, with to date 535 aircraft ordered and 397 currently in operation within the Group. The latter include: 282 A320 Family, 42 A330s, 63 A340s, and 10 A380s. Lufthansa has recently announced an order for 100 A320 Family aircraft to switch its Single-Aisle Fleet in the 150-230 size category entirely to Airbus.
The A350 XWB (Xtra Wide-Body) is an all-new mid-size long range product line comprising three versions and seating between 270 and 350 passengers in typical three-class layouts. The new Family, whose fuselage cross-section is optimized to accommodate Airbus’ 18-inch economy seat-width for long range passenger comfort, will also bring a 25 percent step change in efficiency compared with existing aircraft in this size category. Scheduled for entry-into-service in 2014, the A350 XWB to date has already won 682 firm orders from 35 customers worldwide.