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).
Austrian Airlines on March 7 introduced the first wet-leased Air Berlin A320 into service for Lufthansa Group. The aircraft, D-ABZA, flew in Austrian colors from Vienna to Skopje. D-ABZC entered service for OS in March 8.
D-ABZA and D-ABZC are the first 2 of 5 Air Berlin aircraft that will operate for Austrian. Under the wet-lease agreement, the aircraft will carry OS colors, however the crew that you will see aboard the plane will be dressed in their Air Berlin uniforms since technically the employees are on lease from Air Berlin.
D-ABZA shows off her new Austrian Colors. Photo courtesy of Austrian Airlines.
This opportunity for Austrian to expand their fleet and reach comes after Lufthansa agreed with Air Berlin to sublet 40 Air Berlin aircraft in order to help Air Berlin restructure their operations in an attempt to return to profitability. Air Berlin’s key investor, Etihad, was instrumental in working with LH to make the deal possible.
D-ABZC in her old AB colors…..
Most of the 40 aircraft will be painted in LH Group’s Eurowings livery and will be deployed on routes that EW normally serves along with a few new additions thanks to having an airport full of new planes to deploy.