Category Archives: News

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FAA Issues Notification Over Fake CFM Engine Parts

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Various airlines have fallen victim to CFM’s dubious parts.

More airlines are coming forward to report fake parts in their CFM engines. American Airlines has become the latest casualty of the scandal surrounding AOG Technics regarding false safety documents for dubious parts fitted to engines operated on Airbus A320s and Boeing 737s.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has reiterated that the documents provided were falsified, and earlier this month, it issued an unapproved parts notification (UPN) for the parts supplied by AOG without approval. The FAA said,

“If these bushings are installed or found in existing aircraft parts inventories, the FAA recommends that they be removed and quarantined to prevent installation until a determination can be made regarding their eligibility for installation.”

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MRO Competition Intensifies In Indonesia

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Lithuanian MRO provider FL Technics is doubling its presence in Indonesia with the construction of a new MRO hub in Bali.

This will supplement FL Technics Indonesia’s existing facility in Jakarta, which achieved its Part 145 certification five years ago and offers heavy checks as well as other maintenance services for Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 aircraft from a 15,000 ft.2 hangar at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.

The Bali facility is being constructed in partnership with PT Angkasa Pura Properti, to create a six-bay, 17,000 m2 (approximately 183,000 ft.2) facility for narrowbody aircraft.

FL Technics’ desire to expand in Indonesia is understandable given the growth prospects of the country and the wider Southeast Asia region, as well as Indonesia’s vibrant airline sector.

The country has seen some failures and restructurings in recent years, but also new entrants to fill gaps as soon as they appear.

This turbulence has been reflected in the results of FL Technics Indonesia’s listed competitor, GMF AeroAsia.

Mostly reliant on sales to flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, which entered restructuring during the pandemic, GMF suffered a huge dip in business that in 2020 pushed it into breach of certain financial covenants and forced it to request a waiver from creditors and a restructure of its bank loans.

The MRO provider has since restructured portions of its debt. In the first six months of this year its operating cash flow climbed to $6 million from negative in the prior-year period.

While sales are still below the pre-pandemic period, GMF is pursuing initiatives such as greater widebody maintenance services to take advantage of the growing air cargo market, it said. 

GMF’s main base is at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport near Jakarta. It comprises a 67,000 m2 (approximately 721,000 ft.2) narrowbody maintenance hangar—the largest in the world—as well as a 22,000 m2 widebody maintenance hangar, a 23,000 m2 light maintenance hangar and another 23,000 m2 hangar with Airbus A330 maintenance facilities. 

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Paris Air Show 2023: Airbus blows by Boeing on the back of IndiGo‘s order

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Airbus has finished the Paris Air Show 2023 ahead of its main competitor, Boeing, with massive orders from Indian airlines reaffirming which market is currently viewed with the most optimism. 

The European Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) overshadowed Boeing during the event, which was packed with massive orders and acrobatic displays from commercial and military aircraft, as well as static displays that delighted every AvGeek. 

Paris Air Shows’ official first day, June 19, 2023, began relatively calmly, but the pace picked up very quickly, staying at a peak over the next few days. 

Airbus securing IndiGo and other crucial aircraft orders 

The first day of the event also marked an important moment in the history of the aviation industry, with India’s IndiGo breaking the record for the largest-ever aircraft order. 

The Indian low-cost carrier ordered 500 Airbus A320neo family aircraft – all firm orders without options. While the airline has still not decided on the exact mix of A320neo and A321neos, it was nevertheless important to secure delivery slots for its growth in the next decade, with delivery of the order set to take place during the 2030s. 

“An order book now of almost 1000 aircraft well into the next decade enables IndiGo to fulfil its mission to continue to boost economic growth, social cohesion and mobility in India,” said Pieter Elbers, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of IndiGo. 

Previously, Elbers had hinted that the airline was happy with its existing order book, saying that IndiGo had “a steady flow of planes coming in”. 

Notably, Air India also finalized a major order that the carrier initially announced in February 2023. The newly privatized airline group purchased 140 A320neo, 70 A321neo, 34 A350-1000, and six A350-900 aircraft. 

Other orders throughout the event included Qantas ordering nine additional A220s, Air Mauritius and Philippine Airlines adding A350s, with other low-cost carriers also growing their A320neo family aircraft backlogs. 

While it might not seem large scale, Airbus secured another important order when Avolon, an Ireland-based aircraft lessor, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for 20 A330-900neo aircraft. Since the program’s announcement in July 2014, the European plane maker has struggled to sell the type, as evident by only 299 orders for the A330-800neo and A330-900neo, excluding two A330-900neos delivered to Air Belgium via Airbus Financial Services, as of May 31, 2023. 

As such, the 20 orders for the A330-900neo means that the 277 aircraft-strong backlog will grow by 7.2%. The A330-800neo’s backlog hasn’t increased during the event and remains at 12 aircraft, of which Airbus has already delivered seven. 

During the week overall, Airbus secured 821 orders: 500 A320neo family aircraft from IndiGo, 250 various aircraft from Air India, 30 A320neo family aircraft from flynas, 20 from Avolon (an MoU), nine A220 from Qantas, nine A350-1000 from Philippine Airlines, and three A350-900 aircraft from Air Mauritius. 

This figure does not include 25 A321neos from Volaris, as the Mexican low-cost carrier’s order was booked by the manufacturer in October 2022 and listed under an undisclosed airline at the time. 

The manufacturer’s Year-to-Date (YTD) net orders stood at 144 as of May 31, 2023, according to its own Orders & Deliveries data. The data included 50 A321neo and 23 A350-1000 orders from Qatar Airways, which were reinstated once the two sides settled their conflict in February 2023 over premature paint surface degradation of the airline’s A350s. YTD, excluding deals made during the Paris Air Show, Boeing had booked 223 orders as of May 31, 2023.

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Boeing to showcase newest 737 and 777 jets at Paris Air Show

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Aircraft manufacturer Boeing has released details of its planned aerospace and defense showcase at the 2023 Paris Air Show.

Boeing will showcase a range highly efficient commercial jets, critical defense platforms, customer-focused services and innovative autonomous technologies at the upcoming event.

Air Show overview

The 737-10, the largest member of the MAX family, will join the new 777-9 in the show’s flying display. Meanwhile, Boeing subsidiary Wisk Aero debuts its all-electric, autonomous 6th generation air taxi – which the company plans to certify for commercial passenger operations.

With a strong commitment toward a sustainable aerospace industry, Boeing will demonstrate its “Cascade” Climate Impact Model, a data-modeling tool recently made available to the public to provide actionable insights towards the aviation industry’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.

 The company will also debut a new tool that tracks sustainable aviation fuel capacity around the world, and provide an update on delivering 100% SAF-compatible airplanes by 2030.

Rundown of events and programs

Below are some of the events and programs Boeing will highlight during the air show.

Commercial Airplanes

The Boeing 737-10 and 777-9 will debut at Le Bourget on June 18.

The 737-10 will provide operators with more capacity, greater fuel efficiency and the best per-seat economics of any single-aisle airplane.

Boeing Test and Evaluation, Boeing Flight Test, Flight Operations Multimedia, 737 MAX 10, 1G001, 001-03, Photo Flight around Mt. Rainier Washington. Photo: Boeing

The 737 MAX family has received more than 3,500 net orders, and its advanced aerodynamic design and highly-efficient engines reduce fuel use and emissions 20% and the noise footprint 50% compared to airplanes it replaces.

The 777-9, the world’s largest and most efficient twin-engine jet, is based on the most successful twin-aisle family – the 777 – with advanced technologies from the 787 Dreamliner. The 777-9 will deliver 10% better fuel use, emissions and operating costs than the competition.

At exhibit B337, Boeing will showcase the 777X passenger interior in an immersive display highlighting its wider cabin, spacious and flexible architecture and options designed to create an unparalleled experience.

Boeing Test and Evaluation, Boeing Flight Test, Flight Operations Multimedia, 777X, 777-9, WH001, Dubai airshow demonstration practice at KMWH, Moses Lake, WA. Photo: Boeing

So far, Boeing has booked more than 350 net orders for the 777X family, which include the 777-8 and 777-9 passenger models and the new 777-8 Freighter.

In addition to the Boeing commercial display, Riyadh Air, Saudi Arabia’s newest carrier, will also showcase a Boeing-owned 787-9 in its new indigo livery inspired by the colors of the sky at dusk. The airplane will be on static display throughout the week.

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Lufthansa Technik opens new engine parts repair facility in Ireland

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Lufthansa Technik Turbine Shannon (LTTS) has opened a new Engine Parts & Accessories Repair (EPAR) facility in Shannon, Ireland, as part of its ongoing growth trajectory in the region.

The new 2,000 square meter facility increases LTTS’ total capacity for aircraft engine maintenance and repair in the area to 10,000 square meters and allows the company to expand its services to include Engine Manifolds, which distribute air or fluids for optimal engine performance.

The EPAR facility has already generated 25 new jobs, with CEO Michael Malewski citing recruitment as a priority as the company continues to diversify and grow in the post-pandemic recovery period.

“With this new facility we are diversifying our product portfolio and enhancing our manufacturing capabilities to better serve our customers’ needs,” Malewski said. “I believe we have some of the best people in the world working for us at each of our three locations, but we need even more as we experience rapid post-pandemic recovery.”

LTTS has been operating in Ireland since 1992, with over 300 employees across its operations in Shannon, Kildare, and Dublin.

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Turkish Technic provides aircraft maintenance services to Emirates Airlines

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Turkish Technic has signed a base maintenance agreement with Emirates.

Under the terms of the agreement, Turkish Technic will perform base maintenance services on five Boeing 777 of Emirates fleet. The base maintenance operation of the first Boeing 777 has already commenced at Turkish Technic’s Istanbul Ataturk Airport facilities on April 1st. The other aircraft within the scope of the agreement will undergo base maintenance operations at Istanbul Ataturk Airport facilities in the upcoming months.

Mikail Akbulut, CEO of Turkish Technic, said: ‘‘We are delighted that Emirates has entrusted us with the base maintenance operations for five of their Boeing 777 aircraft. As a leading maintenance, repair and overhaul provider of comprehensive aircraft and component services, we are committed to delivering the best-in-class MRO services for our customers. We believe this agreement marks the beginning of a long-standing partnership with Emirates.”

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Dubai Airshow set to return this November

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The Dubai Airshow will discuss synergies across key industry themes, including sustainability, space, and advanced aerial mobility, during 13-17 November

The Dubai Airshow has grown immensely in significance and influence over the years, highlighted by the success of the November 2021 edition, which saw more than USD 74 billion worth of deals announced during the mega event. It welcomed more than 104,000 attendees and witnessed a 50% increase in trade visitors, which included global senior executives from 148 countries.

The event is supported by key aviation industry stakeholders including Dubai Airports, the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA), the UAE Ministry of Defence, Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects (DAEP) and the UAE Space Agency.

With 2023 announced by UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as the ‘Year of Sustainability’, the latest edition will focus on showcasing the sustainability initiatives and technologies from government entities and the wider aerospace industry, further reinforcing the UAE’s unwavering commitment to promoting sustainable circularity ahead of COP28 summit in Dubai. Across the country, industry players continue to invest in new projects and initiatives such as Emirates operating its first demo flight powered with 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel and Dubai Airports implementing efficiencies and innovative solutions to limit its environmental impact. Significant growth is also expected within aerial mobility, with Dubai pledging to launch flying taxis in 2026, advancements in electric and hybrid eVTOL’s and the DCAA publishing the world’s first national regulations related to vertiports.

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Airports, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group said: “Dubai remains the epicentre of confidence, innovation and growth of the global aviation sector, representing our position as a leading international aviation and aerospace hub. During The Year of Sustainability in the UAE, Dubai Airshow 2023 will bring together leading stakeholders from the aerospace and defence sectors to create pathways for sustainable industry practices, as we collectively work to create greater connectivity and efficiency.”

Dubai Airshow, in partnership with the Defense Services Marketing Council (DSMC), recently held its first Advisory Board meeting which included senior members from the entire ecosystem of aerospace, space and defence to drive the agenda of the Airshow and support the sustainable growth of the global industry. Opened by H.E. Sarah Al Amiri, the Advisory Board focused on a range of topics including the priorities of the UAE National 2023 objectives, and in particular the aviation, space and defence sectors, to continue driving the themes for this year’s Airshow forward.

Co-located with the Airshow, VISTA, a dedicated hub for global aerospace start-ups, will be returning after a successful launch in 2021, to bring in new challenges, more investors, increased mentorship opportunities and the emerging sectors that are transforming the future of the industry. Other new and expanded features at Dubai Airshow 2023 include an enhanced conference agenda that will span across key topics such as future of flight, passenger experience and the inaugural Air Worthiness and Safety Conference, an invite-only conference hosted by the UAE Ministry of Defence.

At Dubai Airshow 2023, space will be amplified through initiatives including a dedicated Space experience zone, a space delegation programme, together with an enhanced 2-day content programme. This will host its biggest Space pavilion to date, where leading organisations will showcase the latest space technologies and solutions, highlighting their role in driving innovation and sustainability across the space sector.

Tim Hawes, managing director of Tarsus F&E commented: “Aligning with the UAE’s Year of Sustainability and national strategies, as well as global aerospace carbon net zero strategies and COP28 taking place in Dubai, Dubai Airshow 2023 will be underlined by innovations that bring about next-generation features, efficiencies and decarbonisation, ensuring the future of aviation, aerospace and defence is sustainable. It will highlight how technology is changing the landscape with artificial intelligence, cyber security, blockchain solutions and eVTOLs, which will have a major presence. As always, Dubai Airshow will be the perfect platform to convene the world towards a brighter future for all.”

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Leonardo receives helicopter orders from Middle East and India

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Leonardo has confirmed it sold ‘almost’ 40 helicopters during Heli-Expo 2023, including orders from the Middle East and India.

The helicopters, of various types, were sold to several operators primarily for energy support, rescue and public service duties, and VIP transport operations.

Leonardo said in a statement: “All of these orders add to preliminary sales contracts, already announced at Heli-Expo, for more than 50 AW09 next generation single engine helicopters for customers worldwide. In addition to THC’s decision to confirm intent to further expand the presence of their AW139 fleet in Saudi Arabia for SAR, EMS and corporate transport adding six helicopters plus 20 options within the next 18 months.

“Nearly 25 aircraft will carry out offshore transport missions with various operators supporting the energy industry across geographies. The AW139 global fleet grew with new orders across the Middle East – as well as Brazil, Thailand, Indonesia and Germany.”

Among operators in the Middle East placing orders for Leonardo offshore-configured helicopters was Abu Dhabi Aviation (ADA).  It has expanded its AW139 offshore fleet with an order for six more helicopters with deliveries expected in the 2024-2026 timeframe.

There was also a new order for one AW139 by Abu Dhabi Police in UAE.

India’s Global Vectra Helicorp placed an order for two AW169s to support transport operations in the energy industry sector. The delivery of the aircraft is expected to be completed this year, joining a fleet of AW139s.

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OEMs, Experts Exude Market Caution

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Manufacturers and leading rotorcraft valuation analysts expect the markets for both new and used civil helicopters to remain tight in 2023, squeezed by a triumvirate of pressures including inventory, inflation, and supply chain constraints.

While the civil market has mostly returned to pre-covid normal in terms of overall new helicopter sales and/or flight hours, price increases have placed increasing pressure on the already constrained preowned market. Meaningful forecasting in this environment, clouded by continuing economic uncertainty, is difficult, so much so that, for the first time in memory, Honeywell will not issue its turbine helicopter sales forecast at this year’s Helicopter Association International (HAI) Heli-Expo.

“[The helicopter market is] actually kind of a muddy picture,” said Jason Zilberbrand, president of aircraft valuation and consultancy Vref. “You know, it’s really difficult I think for people to figure out what’s going on, what they should do.” 

Jason Kmiecik, president of HelValues, concurs. “It is very difficult for anybody to say how 2023 is going to pan out,” he noted.

For the OEMs already reporting 2022 civil sales results, the trend appears to indicate more of the same, with perhaps small increases in production, but nowhere near enough to take pressure off the used market.  For 2022, Airbus Helicopters said it maintained its 52 percent share of the civil and para-public helicopter market in 2022 with 374 orders and 344 deliveries. Customer fleet hours, meanwhile, returned to pre-pandemic 2019 levels. Demand for the company’s turbine singles and light twins again led the way, collectively accounting for 342 orders, while demand for Airbus’s super-medium and intermediate helicopters, the H175 and H160, remained weak, drawing orders for just eight and 12 examples, respectively. 

“Our orders came from 203 customers in 48 countries, underlining the importance of our global network, as well as showing that in uncertain times, the role of helicopters is more essential than ever,” said Airbus Helicopters CEO Bruno Even. “[2022] was a year in which Airbus Helicopters solidified its recovery, in a context of instability with the war in Ukraine and a fragile supply chain.”

Bell Textron’s civil deliveries surged, but largely on the popularity of the high-production, low-margin Bell 505 light single. Overall, for both military and civil sales, Bell’s revenues dropped 4.9 percent from its performance in 2021, to $3.1 billion, while the segment reported a profit of $282 million. Bell said it expects modest growth in 2023 revenues—to about $3.3 billion—with comparable profitability. Bell finished 2022 with a backlog of $4.8 billion and delivered 176 civil helicopters, up from 156 in 2021. The totals included 83 Model 505s and 49 Model 407 singles, as well as 32 light-twin 429s. Deliveries of 505s posted the largest gain, increasing from 63 in 2021. For the period, deliveries of Bell 412s more than doubled, from seven to 15.

Both Airbus and Bell deliveries benefitted from the strength in the singles market, where “government agencies and municipalities are buying this stuff like Tic Tacs,” said Zilberbrand. Demand for both new and used single-engine turbine helicopters remains strong and supply is tight, according to market consultancy Aero Asset. It reported that the preowned singles market remained tight for most of 2022 worldwide, with some signs of loosening in North America during most of the year and in Europe during the fourth quarter. Sales for those models fell 12 percent in 2022 compared with 2021, according to Aero Asset. For the year, 212 units sold for a collective $387 million—down 15 percent by value from 2021.

VIP singles accounted for 60 percent of all transactions in 2022 while the supply of helicopters configured for emergency medical services remains at an all-time low. The number of utility helicopters for sale dropped 30 percent year-over-year. The supply of popular models remains tight, with just five months’ supply of the Airbus AS350B3/H125, Bell 407/GX/P/I, and Airbus EC130B4/H130 remaining at 2022 trade levels. Leonardo’s AW119, while ranked last, still showed a strong absorption rate of 10 months. 

“North American buyers accounted for nearly 60 percent of all single-engine transactions in 2022 while retail transactions in Europe fell 40 percent year-over-year,” said Aero Asset v-p of market research Valerie Pereira. “Inventory for sale plummeted 40 percent year-over-year, but rose in the fourth quarter and actually tripled in North America between the second and last quarters of 2022.”

But that inventory doesn’t stay on the market long, said HeliValues’ Kmiecik. More than 90 percent of the adjustments made in HeliValues’ Official Helicopter Blue Book from the Q4 2022 pricing review have recently increased. “The supply of in-demand aircraft will continue to diminish,” he said. “Some of what’s remaining on the market are aircraft that buyers have picked through and have passed on already. We’re starting to see a lot of emails from brokers looking for off-market aircraft because there’s more demand than supply on certain models.”

On the singles side, Kmiecik sees hot demand for Airbus AStars, Bell 407s and 206L-3s and L-4s, and newer MD 500 series aircraft while owners increasingly part out older aircraft. The light twin market is also very active for almost everything from the Airbus EC135 and EC145 models.  For medium twins, low-time Sikorsky S-76C+ and C++ models are finding homes in the VIP market; however, from a broader perspective, demand for S-76 models has diminished as they leave the offshore energy sector.

In the intermediate twin space, although the price of used Leonardo AW139s has dropped slightly in the last six months, the demand for leasing has increased. “Lease rates are going up faster than the [sales] values are dropping,” said Kmiecik. “The 139 is still one of the most also popular aircraft because it has proven itself to be a very reliable aircraft. Everybody loves it, they love flying in it, they love flying it, they love working on it.”

Leasing activity also is increasing on the heavy Airbus EC225LP and the Sikorsky S-92A, driving down supply and stimulating an eventual price increase, according to Kmiecik. “We are finally starting to see prices rise for the first time in years for the heavy class of helicopters,” he said, adding that recent transactions in the third and fourth quarters of 2022 drove up valuations on both the EC225LP and S-92A. EC225LP sales involved the utility or search and rescue sector, and S-92A sales remained in the offshore energy transport sector. Offshore’s increasing sole reliance on the S-92A as its main heavy twin-engine helicopter could pave the way for the Bell 525 as a second-source aircraft, particularly in the North Sea, depending on its eventual sales price and timing of its final certification, he said.

The likelihood that OEMs will significantly boost production to alleviate scarcity across all categories remains low, according to the experts. “I think they’re [the OEMs] strapped for resources,” said Zilberbrand, who doesn’t see supply and prices getting back to normal until 2024 at the earliest. “I think a lot of folks just didn’t come back after Covid and it’s going to reduce capacity. They can’t get stuff up fast enough and the stuff that they’re getting out is having more issues post-delivery.”

Kmiecik thinks OEMs will remain cautious about raising production in the face of economic uncertainty. “Given that behavior, odds are the used market will remain tight for newer and current production models,” he explained.

Longer-term, Zilberbrand thinks the market for turbine singles will likely erode in the face of eVTOLs. “While currently used turbine singles are worth their weight in gold from an operational standpoint, they’re getting really expensive to fix,” he noted. “We’re going to get to this point where [eVTOLs] are going to be forced on us. Insurance premiums are not getting any cheaper and a lot of stuff’s getting past the [maintenance] point of no return.”

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Lufthansa Orders 22 More Widebodies from Boeing and Airbus

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Lufthansa Group’s supervisory board on Thursday approved the purchase of 22 widebodies worth $7.5 billion at list prices, the company said.

The order consists of 10 Airbus A350-1000s, five A350-900s, and seven Boeing 787-9s, deliveries of which the company expects to start in the mid-2020s. Including Thursday’s orders, Lufthansa Group plans to take delivery of 108 long-haul aircraft, including Boeing 777-9s, over the “next few years.” Boeing expects the 777-9 to gain certification in 2025.

The new long-haul aircraft will also replace older aircraft types, said Lufthansa. In the medium term, the company plans to take out of service six such subfleets: Boeing 747-400s, 777-200s, and 767-300s, as well as its Airbus A340-600s, A340-300s, and A330-200s. The moves will reduce the quadjet contingent within the Lufthansa Group fleet to less than 15 percent; before the pandemic, quadjets accounted for some 50 percent of the groupwide aircraft fleet. In total and including the short- and medium-haul aircraft of the Airbus A320neo family, the Lufthansa Group has placed orders for more than 200 new aircraft for delivery over the next few years.

The group also has entered advanced negotiations to acquire further long-haul aircraft that Boeing and Airbus could make available at shorter notice.

Along with the latest purchase agreement, Airbus and Lufthansa have signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen their cooperation in the field of sustainability and future technologies. The plans include greater use of sustainable aviation fuels, further optimization of operations through more efficient flight management, and exploration into the use of hydrogen.

“With our purchase of 22 further Airbus A350s and Boeing 787s, we have secured the delivery of more than 50 latest-generation long-haul aircraft for the member airlines of the Lufthansa Group since the pandemic began,” said Lufthansa Group CEO Carsten Spohr. “These aircraft will be equipped with our new long-haul cabins, including the latest-generation seats in all classes of travel…These new aircraft will also play a decisive role in helping us achieve our carbon emission reduction goals by 2030 as fuel-efficient aircraft which incorporate the latest manufacturing technology are by far the greatest lever for providing more climate protection within the aviation sector.”