Earlier today, the Supervisory Board for Lufthansa Group approved a 2.1 billion Euro proposal to add 16 new aircraft to the group’s fleet.
Specifically, SWISS will be adding 2 777-300ER aircraft in the first half of 2020 (and hopefully use them to replace the woeful antique currently flying between ZRH & JNB but I digress). Lufthansa Cargo will receive 2 777 Freighters that will be used to retire 2 of their MD11 workhorses.
In addition to the long haul addition, the board also signed off on the purchase of 12 A320 aircraft. This includes the conversion of 6 optioned aircraft into firm orders that will be delivered in 2022. According to the press release 6 of these may be A320CEO (Current Engine Option) due to delivery delays with the A320NEO (New Engine Option).
With demand expecting to be through the roof, SWISS has announced that will deploy a Boeing 777 to fly to Moscow during the 2018 World Cup later this year.
Specifically, SWISS has announced that a 777 will make the roundtrip between Zurich and Moscow (DME) on June 15 and 16, and again on July 16 and 17.
On those days, the 777 flights will be LX1326 that departs Zurich at 12p, arriving in Moscow at 4:25p while LX 1327 will depart Moscow at 5:45p, arriving back in Zurich at 8:15p.
Booking is obviously open for these unique flights…….
A few days ago, Austrian updated their timetable to reflect frequency changes to Hong Kong and aircraft changes on flights to Newark.
The changes are slated to take effect for the Winter 2018/19 schedule so they’re still subject to additional adjustments, but as it stands today here’s what will be happening:
Beginning October 28, Vienna – Hong Kong will increase from 3x/week to 4x/week.
Beginning October 28, flights between Vienna and Newark will be flown by their 777 and 767 aircraft. The 4 weekly flights between VIE and EWR will be split between the 2 aircraft types. Specific days for each type have not been assigned as yet.
SWISS has updated their timetable to reflect the assignment of their 777 aircraft to 3 European destinations during this coming Winter. This has happened each year since the addition of the 777 to LX’s fleet as it provides an opportunity for SWISS to continue to train and certify crews for the 777 aircraft.
This winter’s 777 destinations include Geneva, Hannover, and Vienna and will operate as follows:
Zurich – Geneva will see the 777 between December 4 and March 23 on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays. Flight number LX2802 from Zurich, and Flight LX2807 from Geneva.
Zurich – Hannover will see the 777 between December 4 and March 22 on Mondays and Thursdays. Flight number LX816 from Zurich, and Flight LX817 from Hannover.
Zurich – Vienna will see the 777 between December 4 and March 22 on Mondays and Thursdays. Flight number LX1582 from Zurich, and Flight LX1853 from Vienna.
Now before you get excited about being able to book a First Class ticket for these short haul flights, SWISS will not open the ‘F’ cabin for booking. However, passengers booking Business Class tickets will be able to enjoy the 777’s Business Class cabin.
There have been anecdotes from past years that passengers have been allowed to sit the ‘F’ cabin, but that would be at the discretion of the purser. From personal experiences in seeing how SWISS pursers behave with even the most trivial matters, I would be surprised if any of these stories are true.
Austrian has announced that their first 767 slated for the upgrade to a Premium Economy cabin is now in the shop and the update has begun. At the same time, Austrian has now opened Premium Economy booking for all of their long haul flights scheduled for March 6, 2018 and onward.
The seat is identical to the one found aboard Lufthansa long haul birds except that the seat colors match the Austrian cabin decor.
As with the current product found aboard LH, the Austrian Premium Economy experience will be nearly identical as far as seat pitch, baggage allowance, and dining is concerned:
- Increased seat ‘pitch’ as compare to Economy
- Foot rests
- Amenity Kit
- Fold old tables with dedicated arm-rests
- 12 inch IFE screen
- One standard and one USB power port
- Checked baggage allowance of 2 pieces at 23kg (50 lbs) each
- Enhanced dining options
- Welcome aboard drink
In all, 12 aircraft will be retrofitted between now and March 2018. Once the €15 million retrofit is complete, Austrian will offer a total of 252 Premium Economy seats on their long haul 767 and 777 aircraft.
I suspect during the next few months (until March 2018) while the upgrades are taking place, Economy Class passengers will be offered low-cost or free upgrades to Premium Economy seats. Miles & More Senators & HON Circle members may receive complimentary upgrades as well. This will be take place on a flight by flight basis while the fleet is being upgraded. At least this is what happened while LH was going through the process of upgrading their fleet.