Lufthansa announced yesterday that it was replacing its 748i’s on a number of key routes, including amongst others, Tokyo and Los Angeles, giving many the concern that the airline is moving slowly towards early retirement.
The airline has always been disappointed with the aircraft, especially in terms of fuel consumption, and cancelled the final 6 of a 25 aircraft order. At the time Lufthansa said it would not operate the aircraft for more than 10 years – and the first ones are approaching that age now.
The airline is to replace the 748i’s on the changed routes with A350-900’s both flying from Frankfurt and Munich. All of the A359’s will be taken out of temporary storage and put back in to use. They’re cheaper to operate and are more appropriate to the low numbers of passengers currently flying.
Even so, it seems that the creeping demise of the four engined aircraft, an inevitability in time come what may, seems to be drawing near far sooner than anyone imagined.
Delta announced a net loss of US$2.6 billion for the third quarter of 2020 ending in September. The airline has US$24 billion in cash, and is burning around US$24 million per day over an above its income.
Overall the airline was 79% down in income over the same period in 2019.
Delta listed all of its retirements, describing them as fleet simplification.
The staggering total of 383 aircraft underlines the severity of the current crisis and the fact that recovery is a very long process, likely to take as long as four years.
Delta outlined a number of human and business policies that hope to provide it with a springboard to quickly take advantage of any post-covid rebound.
The airline also announce a postponement of almost all of its new aircraft for at least three years, and if needed as long as five.