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Friday, January 23, 2015

Lufthansa Top Up Order Speculation

Because this blog has been dreadfully boring lately, I'm going to speculate about Lufthansa. If you don't remember, they ordered 20 747-8Is, launching the Intercontinental program into reality. They eventually cancelled one of them, line 1435, which was used as a test frame and considered too out of spec to take. Out of their remaining 19 frames, 15 have been delivered. One is ready to deliver any day now, two more are on the flight line going through testing, and the last frame is finishing up on the Final Assembly Line.

There have been rumors that Lufthansa is going to take back line 1435. If this is true, then they'll eventually announce it, and if they announce it, I think it's likely they'll announce a small top up order for the 748 as well. A small order is a huge order for the 747 right now. Anyways, based on cues and clues, I'm starting to feel it's likely Lufthansa will announce an order for about five or six 747-8Is early this year, including putting line 1435 into service. It would be great to see 1435 enter passenger service, as she's been through a lot of testing (both for the original 747-8I test program and then as the sole dedicated test frame for the PIP package last year), and needs some stability in her life. I also think 1435 will get the retro livery Lufthansa has talked about applying to one of their new 748s.

Again, this is just me speculating based off what is observable. If it comes true, I can brag about my amazing prescience. If it doesn't, you won't notice me silently deleting this post from the archive. You can ridicule me or praise me in the comment section.


  1. The only way I could see that happening is if they need immediate lift and can't wait for the 779 which is approximately 5 years away. Granted you can get a intercontinental in about a years time but the 779's economic benefits outweigh those of the intercontinental.

    1. There could be a number of reasons Lufthansa prefers the 748 now. It's bigger and roomier, it's still an efficient plane, they already have a fleet of them, and they've done very well for themselves flying a fleet of planes that are far from the most efficient available.

  2. In Germany everything has it's order... Here is what they told to the press:

    "Explaining the decision, the German carrier’s 747-8 chief pilot Elmar Boje says the extensive flight test modifications already made to the aircraft would mean that, even after post-test refurbishment, the unit would be a non-standard “white elephant” in the Lufthansa fleet."

    Elmar Boje said in early 2013 that Lufthansa is thinking to order one factory-new 747-8 instead of 1435 at a later stage.

    Fact is that they have 17 747-400 in their fleet and they decided in 10/2014 to refurbish the cabin of 13 of them.
    In the next 3-4 months they take up the last four 747-8

    My speculation:

    1435: No way to be taken up by Lufthansa. That would be a real surprise for me.

    No new order because they just decided to refurbish just 13 of the 17 747-400. That means to me that they will just replace these four and have no need for more 747-8
    There is a chance that they order one more 747-8 because of special conditions in the cancellation agreement for 1435, but I don't think they would use this option.

    Boeing has very good chances to get a 777-F order to replace the old MD11F fleet.
    They ordered already an amount of 5 777-Fs and they don't want to have several airliners in the fleet of Lufthansa Cargo.

    1. Your analysis is very good, probably better than mine. But I'm sticking to my guns! I'll admit I'm wrong if it hasn't happened by the end of this year :)

  3. There are some rumors that Line 1513 (D-ABYT) is getting the retro livery you mentioned.
    It would make sense because of 60th company anniversary at april 1st (delivery is around that date)
    Do you know more? (it is already in KPAE Paint hanger)?