With the threat of Ebola abated, Lufthansa along with the German government have decided to decommission the Airbus A340 as an Ebola Evacuation Aircraft and return it to passenger service.
The A340, D-AIGZ, was pulled from service late last year and was on stand-by ever since in the event that Ebola patients needed emergency evacuation from affected areas in order to receive treatment. The plane had been heavily modified to house potential Ebola patients in a manner that would protect them and those providing treatment.
Fortunately, the need never arose and it has been decided that the aircraft can now rejoin LH fleet later this summer.
D-AIGZ will return to passenger service later this summer.
Lufthansa and the German government have partnered to retrofit one of the fleet’s A340-300s into an aircraft that will be able to safely transport Ebola patients.
Lufthansa Technik will take D-AIGZ or ‘Villingen-Schwenningen’, remove several rows of seats and in their place install 4 Isolation Chambers for patient transport. The set up will allow easy access by medical professionals to their patients. Additionally, these Isolation Units will have dedicated air filtration systems that will be separate from the the rest of the aircraft’s ventilation systems.
According to Lufthansa, volunteer pilots and flight attendants will operate these flights and the aircraft will be available for any country that would have a need to transport Ebola patients.
The retrofit is expected to be completed by the end of November and the aircraft will be maintained for immediate deployment. The aircraft will obviously be removed from normal passenger service and WILL NOT be retrofitted with the new Premium Economy cabin as originally planned.