By the summer of 2023, Lufthansa will reintroduce its fleet of double-decker Airbus A380s, bringing the high-capacity behemoths to popular routes leaving from Munich (MUC).
Lufthansa intends to restart its super-jumbo fleet in time for the busy summer travel season, despite the fact that airline demand for travel is still on the rise and planemakers are finding it difficult to produce enough new planes to meet those needs.
Beginning in June 2023, three A380s will operate flights out of Munich, with more A380s reentering service later.
Eight A380s that Lufthansa now owns aren’t flying since the demand for travel hit all-time lows during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the grounding, the airline also sold six of the aircraft.
The airline had previously stated that it intended to begin A380 flights but had not provided any information, but during a Thursday results call with investors, CEO Carsten Spohr gave the additional information.
“Expect three in Munich, and you should book now because our passengers love it, if you want to fly it,” Spohr said. “That’s just the beginning.”
“We’ll need to bring that number up, from the demand we see and also for operational reasons, three is not enough,” he added. “We’re currently working on a detailed plan for that.”
After more than two years, Lufthansa revealed plans to restart the A380 fleet in June of last year. In a statement, the airline cited “the significant surge in consumer demand and the delayed delivery of ordered aircraft.”
The four cabins on Lufthansa’s A380s can accommodate 509 passengers. There are 371 economy seats, 78 business class seats, 52 premium economy recliners, and 8 first-class seats available.
This is not the first time that Lufthansa has switched to older planes to accommodate unforeseen demand during the epidemic recovery. Six Airbus A340-600s were returned to service in March by the airline, which added them to a number of U.S. routes departing from Munich.
The airline also has a fleet of A340-300s that are smaller in size, which it intends to replace in the upcoming years.
Those A340-300s are expected to be phased out soon and replaced with Boeing 787s, Spohr said. The 787’s deliveries have just started up again following a pause caused by manufacturing problems.
“The 787 is intending to replace our 340-300s, because that’s more or less the same capacity, and both aircraft operate without a first class,” he said. “We have 32 on order total of the 787s coming in, so this will be just the beginning.”