Lufthansa buys 59 new aircraft in record $19bn deal
German airline Lufthansa has ordered 59 wide-bodied aircraft from Boeing and Airbus, splitting a purchase valued at $19bn (€14bn) that is the biggest yet for the carrier and lets it phase out ageing long-distance jets.
The purchase is for 34 Boeing 777-9X aircraft and 25 Airbus A350-900s. The contracts also include options for an additional 30 units of each plane. Deliveries of the A350s will start in 2016, and Boeing will follow in 2020.
Lufthansa's fleet renewal is part of an overhaul initiated under CEO Christoph Franz, who announced his surprise departure this week to join Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG next year.
Lufthansa had already unveiled the purchase of new narrow-bodied Airbus aircraft, bringing the total value of planes ordered this year to $31bn, and the addition of the long-distance jets would help replace older Boeing 747-400 and Airbus A340-300 four-engine airliners.
"Less fuel consumption, less carbon dioxide emissions and less noise – the aircraft on order will enable us to make a quantum leap in efficiency," said Mr Franz. "Never in the history of Lufthansa have we made a bigger investment."
The next 777, the world's biggest twin-engine airliner, will feature new engines from General Electric called GE-9X on the upgraded model and the largest wing ever on a Boeing plane to help improve performance. It will be able to seat more than 400 people.
Lufthansa has so far not flown the current 777 in its own passenger business, and only uses the aircraft for cargo and its Swiss and Austrian subsidiaries.
Lufthansa's decision to also buy planes from Airbus maintains its position as the biggest airline customer for the Toulouse-based planemaker. (Bloomberg)