The only reason why Lufthansa bought 40 Airbus A350s and Boeing 787s last month was because it can no longer grow in Frankfurt.
Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr is in the USA this week. Yesterday, he told Flight Global in Washington, DC:
The order – 20 787s and 20 Airbus A350s – wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t had those problems with Frankfurt…
Frankfurt, we believe, has reached its limit of growth.
“Those problems with Frankfurt” refer to relatively higher costs but primarily neighboring residents who strongly oppose any expansion at FRA. These residents fought bitterly against Frankfurt’s runway expansion product about a decade ago. As part of a grand compromise, noise curfews in effect at Frankfurt prohibit around-the-clock service. This limits both passenger and cargo operations.
Delivery of the additional 20 A350s and 20 787s will begin in 2022. These aircraft will be based in Munich (operated by Lufthansa), Zurich (operated by SWISS) and Vienna (operated by Austrian).
Expect the A350s out of Munich, as Lufthansa already operated a fleet of 13 from its southern base, with 12 more on order (not including the new order).
A380s Will Be Based In Frankfurt
Spohr highlighted that the A380 is no longer a leader in terms of fuel efficiency and environmental impact.
When we ordered the A380 and took delivery of it, it was the most efficient aircraft in the world. Now, with the new aircraft coming into service – the A350, 787 and especially the 777-9X – there is just more efficient aircraft in economic terms, and also in environmental terms.
Nevertheless, the A380 is not going anywhere soon. Lufthansa will retire six of 14, but the remaining eight will be based in Frankfurt.
> Read More: Lufthansa Snubs The A380
As I still consider Frankfurt a “home” airport for me, I’m sorry to hear that Lufthansa is unlikely to grow much from its main hub. But I’m happy that we will see a concentration of first class in FRA with both A380s and 747-8s. Neither the A350 nor 787 will feature a first class cabin.
> Read More: The Future Of First Class On Lufthansa