787 vs A350.
Lufthansa is in the process of replacing its long-haul fleet in the medium to long term. It has ordered 15 A380s and 20 747-8s to replace its existing fleet of 30 747-400s. The next step will be to look into the smaller-sized long-haul jets that could supersede its A340 and A330 fleet. Lufthansa does not plan to make a decision on an order for either the Airbus A350 or the Boeing 787 before the end of the year, as Senior VP-Corporate Fleet Nico Buchholz told reporters that while the carrier is in the final phase of evaluations, it is in no rush to place an order.
Lufthansa could become a launch customer for a 737 replacement, Buchholz said, but he cautioned that the aircraft would have to be a big step forward. "We want a good solution, rather than a rushed solution." Lufthansa would need an aircraft to supersede its fleet of 737 Classics and eventually its A320 family fleet, too. The 737s are approaching an average age of 17 years. But Bucholz stressed that it would be fine for the airline to get a replacement in the 2015-2017 timeframe if suitable engine technology is not ready before then.
According to Buchholz, Lufthansa plans to continue flying its aging Airbus A300s for several years. It operates 14 of them, mostly on domestic and European routes, but has reconfigured some of them with its old-generation, long-haul, business-class seats to be able to fly them to destinations in the Middle East and Asia. The A300s are 18 years old on average. Buchholz said that the A330 does not work as a replacement for the A300.
Feeling about the 748i
The airline recently placed the launch order for the 747-8 Intercontinental and to date remains the only passenger carrier opting for the aircraft. But according to Buchholz, Lufthansa is not concerned about the current lack of additional airlines buying the Intercontinental. He predicted that others will buy it before the end of the year.
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