In addition, German language media, which is usually very good informed about LH, stays by swapping and restructuring existing orders and not additional orders, except Embraer. I also don't see where LH has the needed cash to order new planes. I can see a role for the 777X at LH by the time the 747-8s are retiring, but that is very far in the future.
Cash is available left, right and center. The multi billion refinancing is done for the whole of 2021 with long term bonds (4 & 7 years) for more than acceptable interest rates. The first batch of the KfW loan is already paid back. As long as there will be a rebound in traffic somewhere around summertime, financing new jets through the multiple available means in order to strengthen operating efficiency won't be a problem.
While I agree that LHG is financial in a better position than many of its European peers, I still fail to see how LHG will make enough money in the next year to justify new aircraft purchases.
- More leisure traffic, less business equals less revenue (I linked above the article in which Spohr states, that he wants to add Premium economy at the expense of business class and not economy)
- IMO still overstaffed. While I don't want to see ppl loosing their jobs, having a bloated workforce will not help LHGs balance sheet.
- OS in VIE was under pressure and I don't see FR/Lauda and W6 backing down. Will be quite some challenge. (BRU in a similar situation, but a little better)
- More leisure traffic which leads to a higher seasonal fluctuation. Usually business traffic was very important for the winter months, but with that being reduced I see some challenges ahead.
- Fare war will probably increase post C19 and not decrease. I can see very aggressive pricing from the likes of FR, W6 and U2. Coupled with overcapacity that will be a challenge as well.
- EW was loss making before C19 and the build up of Eurowings Discover will cost money as well.
I don't see LHG in a bad situation, but it would be wise to keep enough cash on hand. I agree, however, that LHG was smart during the crisis and took many actions that will be beneficial in the future.
In my view, the 777-9 order is here to stay to eventually be the upper end of LHs longhaul heavy haulers, replacing A380 and (far in the future) -8.
Might be, might not be. I tend to lean towards "convert them now, and see what the future brings". The 747-8 are to stay, the A350-900 are to stay, the A330/340 have years to stay, too. The topic of how to replace the 747-8 does not need to be visited for another five years, and who knows what will have come up until then (e.g. A350-1000neo, -2000, 777-9 performance, 787-10neo). Same goes for expanding pax capacity beyond the limits of the 787-9 / A350-900 on short term if needed. You can easily add more of the same or add an existing derivate.
I agree with this statement. In case there is an upgrade of the A350/B787 available, it would make more sense to buy more of those, as it would allow LHG to eventually only have 2 WB types in its fleet. The only downside is, that LHG probably got a sweetheart deal on the 777X. IMO a good move would be to renegotiate and delay the 777X to the time the 747-8 are supposed to retire and put in contract the right to convert 777X to 787 should the 777X eventually be deemed not necessary.