Lufthansa Group (Swiss, Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa) Fleet Development

Following up on my recent Swiss Fleet Development Post now comes the next. I did try to keep it limited to only Swiss but due to the complexity of it, I had to expand on the whole Lufthansa Group.

We already know that SWISS has been replacing 6 leased A340-313Es, and two owned A340-313Es they transferred to Edelweiss Air, with two more to be replaced and transferred. The plane they replaced those aircraft with is the B777-300ER. The future SWISS Longhaul Fleet will look somewhat like this:

  • 10 B777-300ER
  • 5 A340-313E (with new interior)
  • 14 A330-343(E)

Future Edelweiss Fleet:

  • 4 A340-313E (with updated cabin)
  • 2 A330-343E

While the SWISS Fleet will remain the same in terms of size (expansion in seat count though) the Edelweiss Fleet will grow by number of planes and seat count. They just recently took delivery of their 242t MTOW A330 (also an order originally placed by SWISS) that did replace their old A330-200 (fun fact: that plane originally flew for now grounded Swissair).
SWISS itself will not expand on any routes but will use Edelweiss Air for that job. Having no First Class and a significantly smaller Business Class (same Seat though) and an Economy+ Edelweiss is more of holiday oriented premium Airline. In the last few years many new destinations were added through Edelweiss Air:

Rio de Janeiro, Calgary, Vancouver, San José, Havana, Punta Cana, Malé, Port Louis, Cancun, Cape Town, Phuket, Las Vegas, San Diego, Tampa, as well as many european Destinations.

With the additional aircraft soon to be delivered to Edelweiss Air this list could and will be expanded to maybe Honolulu (it would be the only direct Flight from Europe) and maybe even (attention there is no evidence for the destinations following) Mexico City, Panama, Osaka, Ho Chi Min City, Hanoi or Jakarta or maybe even Sydney?

Now as mentioned above the future SWISS fleet development is closely linked together with that of the Lufthansa Group. Following is the Situation of Austrian Airlines.

Austrian Airlines has a longhaul fleet of Boeing only Aircraft:

  • 6 B767-300ER
  • 5 B777-200ER (with one on order being transferred from Aero Mexico)

The B767 have an average age of 22 years, while the B777 have an average age of 17 years. We see they are rather old and need to be replaced soon. However, Austrian has announced no fix intension on how or when this will happen.

Last but not least we have Lufthansa. Now the situation of Lufthansa is much more complex as their fleet is much bigger than Austrian or Swiss. I will try to summarize though:

Lufthansa had:

  • 19 A330-300
  • 18 A340-300 (8 used by Lufthansa Cityline for Project Jump)
  • 21 A340-600
  • 14 A380-800
  • 13 B747-400
  • 19 B747-8i

Lufthansa had on order:

  • 25 A350-900 (to replace the A340s) (+ 30 options)
  • 34 B777-9X

The A340-600 and B747-400 will be replaced by the B777-9X, (makes sense as to replace a total of 34 aircraft by 34 new aircraft duh)
That would leave us with 18 A340-300 and potential 19 A330-300 to replace by 25 (+ potential 15-30) A350-900.
The numbers don’t quite add up you see. Maybe they are expanding? I don’t know.

The future Lufthansa Fleet will look somewhat like this:

  • 19 A330-300 (to be replaced by the A350-900 options?)
  • 25 A350-900
  • 14 A380-800
  • 34 B777-9X
  • 19 B747-8i

Side note: The Lufthansa Group is going to introduce the same Business Class product on all its airlines. I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing, especially when it’s Lufthansa leading the design, as their current Business Class Product just sucks. But we’ll see about that.

It was suggested that Lufthansa, Swiss and Austrian will cooperate regarding their fleet development. It would work as follows: Swiss would transfer their B777 to Austrian to replace their aging fleet making the the Austrian longhaul Fleet consist of only Boeing 777-300ER. Swiss would then receive A350-900/1000s (the options lufthansa has on order) to replace their remaining A340-300, B777-300ER and maybe even the A330-300 making their fleet consist of only Airbus A350 and maybe A330 aircraft. Meanwhile Lufthansa would unitize their fleet to only use A350, B777-9X, B747-8i and A380 aircraft. This is just a theory I came across one day, so I’d love to know what you think about it and comment your own opinions on how the future of the SWISS and Lufthansa Group fleet will look like.

Achievement unlocked: Read through my whole post


LX is not willing nor able to expand longhaul wise. The capacity of the 77W is a big step and they have to focuse on filling these seats first. Secondly, for further expansion (e.g new destinations) they’d need more aircraft. So the growth is happening at WK to provide additional feed for the european network. The Cseries with its increased capacity is able to take that additional feed.
–> Before LX is not buying more longhaul aircraft, there won’t be an expansion imho.

Very very unlikely unfortunately. The investment in the 77W was huge (they even have their own sim now). To keep it short: The 77W was a mistake especially as the equivalent A350-1000 would have been available between 2018-2020. Now they are stuck with two subfleets with the 77W being a special oddball. Before all those orders happend I remember LH saying they want a “common”/similar fleet. Nowadays there’s the A333, A380, B747-8, B772, B77W and the B779, A350 on order. No commoniality at all. They messed up with the 77W and LX will fly old metal in 10 years again just like they did with the A343 when everyone had young 77Ws. And just to keep up with the big legacy carriers for a few years.


What is your opinion on the possibility of an AirBerlin takeover by Lufthansa Group? I think it should not be allowed, as at that point, the German aviation markets would be in a monopoly favouring LH.

@Aircraft19 Considering that AB is currently making a daily loss of 3 million Euros and has a total amount of debt of around 10 billion Euros I think that this is a rather tiny problem. The question should rather be how do you prevent that thousands of people loose their jobs. It’s a real shame how AB has been managed down to the ground. It kind of reminds me of Swissair (ex CEO Bruggisser to be precisely), suffering of megalomania. AB has bought several airlines (LTU, Belair, flyNiki), a strategy which went wrong. I really enjoyed to fly with AB, it was a good airline. But it doesn’t have a future like this.

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The A340-600 is to be replaced by the A350-900. Replacing them with the 777 doesn’t make sense since the first aircraft were already sent to the desert while the orders of the 777 were postponed. With the announcement that LH will move five A380s to Munich where the A340-600s are operating it gets a bit more interesting though since five of the A340-600 will go to EDDF as a replacement.

Welcome back @Nick_Art! It’s interesting seeing all the A340s being phased out, since the only A340 operator in Australia is Phillipine Airlines. The upcoming fleets of Lufthansa look awesome, particularly the 777x and the large amount of 747-8s which is exciting. Do you know why Swiss is keeping their old A343s in service?

Since fuel prices are rather low at the moment, it is again profitable to fly the A340, so why phase them out? They were built and delivered in 2003, so they are not that old and they will probably be replaced together with the A330-300. Their cabin is really old, but they will soon receive an update.

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That’s not entirely correct. You must see this is kind of a “Rochade” they are doing: they buy a plane (779) to replace another plane (346). But they already have Plane (359) on order and plane (346) needs to be replaced as fast as possible. So they replace plane (346) with plane (359) and as soon as they receive their plane (779) they will then switch the plane (359) with the (779) and use the (359) to replace other planes (333/343).

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Nice post! Learnt a lot from It! Keep it up!

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