The Chart:

Monday, June 3, 2013

Lufthansa wants to replace remaining 747-400s starting in 2020

Update: See this article on Bloomberg. Looks like the Aviation Week article (which has now been updated as well) was based on a misquote and the CEO was talking about the remaining newer 747-400s, which will all be over 20 years old by then anyway. So they're looking at the 777-9x over the 747-8I as a replacement, which would mean the possibility of no top up 747-8I order from Lufthansa.

Previous: I have issues with the wording in this article that makes the claim. I'm sure the Lufthansa CEO was speaking in German and it's not a direct quote, but it isn't really clear if he actually said what the headline claims he said, or if Aviation Week derived this from the fact that he said they're also looking at the 777-9X in their plan to replace their A340 fleet starting in 2020. The 777-9X isn't really 747-8I size anyway, more like 747-400 size.

If it's true and he really said what the headline claims, then that sucks. But I can't imagine they'd plan to take another twelve frames, and that Boeing would be putting so much work into improving efficiency, if this was true. I'm guessing it would be cheaper to cancel the remaining orders, do an extra heavy check on their current older 747-400's, and limp to 2020 then to spend the capital on twelve new frames for a mere ten years of use. Lufthansa has always made their money owning frames and flying them to old age. Even their A340s will all be 20 years old or older when they get retired. Maybe he meant that future 747-400's replacements would probably be 777-9Xs, instead of more 747-8Is. I guess we'll see with time.


  1. It looks like the Aviation Week article could have been a bad translation or misquote. Bloomberg has another take:

    Also, the thread covering this on has had it's title changed, unfortunately Aviation Week itself has not responded or confirmed its story, and other places like Air Insight and Leeham have sourced or tweeted the Avaiation Week story.

    Hopefully it can get cleared up shortly, as I would suspect neither Boeing nor Lufthansa would want a misinterpretation like this being propagated.

  2. Unfortunately, it seems to me that the headline on the Aviation Week article, not to mention it's contents, haven't been updated at all. On their homepage, the tile still reads "Lufthansa Considers Early 747-8 Replacement" and the article itself makes a single passing mention that the 9x may be used as 747-400 replacements.

    Contrast this with the other versions of the article which read that the 9x may be considered as a 747-400 replacement, which to me reads as it is now part of the decision making process, not that it is a final decision. Overall, it really seems like the Aviation Week article requires more cleaning up or clarification.

    1. Yeah that's what I was thinking. Lufthansa is just saying the 777-9x is a strong contender to replace the last set of 747-400s post 2020. Aviation Week is usually pretty good but it seems they've really dropped the ball with this article.