During a press conference in Frankfurt earlier on Thursday  (I had to set my alarm clock to watch this one), Lufthansa has confirmed a major aircraft order that has been speculated about for weeks.  The decision entails major commitments to Boeing’s upcoming 77x and to Airbus’ new A350.

Specifically, Lufthansa has committed to 34 777x aircraft with the option for an additional 7 aircraft.   The 77x order is contingent upon Boeing’s decision to build the next generation 777 but it is widely expected to be approved later this year.   Lufthansa will be the launch customer for this next generation 777.

In addition to the 77x, Lufthansa has also committed to Airbus’ A350 with an order for 25 (with an option for an additional 30) of the next-generation composite-based aircraft (similar to Boeing’s 787).  According to LH’s comments, the A350 was chosen over the 787 due to the limited range of the current 787 offerings.   Even if LH had waited for the 787-10, it would only cover 40% of what they would need in terms of range.

The first A350 is set to join the fleet in 2017 while the first  77x will follow near the end of the decade.

In all, the order is valued at €14-15 billion at list prices, but I suspect Lufthansa paid less than ‘sticker price’ for the aircraft but those kinds of details are never released by the airlines or manufacturers.  In their comments during the press conference, Lufthansa indicated that this will be last big order for quite some time – no others are expected until perhaps later this decade, though they did leave to door open on orders for smaller single aisle aircraft.

 

During their press conference, they shared their vision for the future of the fleet, with a target date of 2025 — The plan is for the fleet to look as follows:

 

Lufthansafleet

 

 

With these orders, we can look forward to a very different looking Lufthansa fleet beginning in the next 8-12 years.  Gone will be the A340 and A330 workhorses along with the Boeing 747-400.

The press conference lasted about an hour including the Q&A session.  Surprisingly, no comments came from Lufthansa regarding the successor to CEO Christoph Franz, who earlier this week announced that he will be leaving the Airline when his contract expires in May 2014 and join Roche as their CEO.