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Lufthansa could drop first class from some of its forthcoming Boeing 777-9 jets in favour of a 'Business Plus' cabin as part of a review of the airline's future fleet, and is also unlikely to fit its new Boeing 777X business class seats onto its current fleet – including the Airbus A380s and newer A350s as well as Boeing 747-8 jumbo jets.
The Star Alliance member is moving ahead with an all-new design for its Boeing 777-9 jets which as exclusively reported last month by Australian Business Traveller will include direct aisle access for all passengers.
However, Lufthansa remains uncertain on the role of first class in its Boeing 777-9s, with Lufthansa group executive Harry Hohmeister telling Australian Business Traveller "There are good opportunities with new business class concepts which are nearly as good as first class but more flexible in terms of cabin design (and) when you have a business class that is so close to first class that the differentiation for the customer will not be relevant any more."
One of the options considered by Lufthansa includes a "Business Plus" cabin instead of first class, according to an internal video presentation by Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr.
This would be introduced on some Boeing 777-9 jets flying routes with insufficient demand for a full first class cabin.
Several airlines have scaled down or entirely removed first class from their fleet, partly driven by advanced in business class, while Emirates and Singapore Airlines are both reducing the number of first class suites in future deliveries of their respective Airbus A380 and Boeing 777-300ER jets.
In his video presentation Spohr also indicated the Boeing 777-9 business class seat would not be retrofitted onto existing aircraft, and flagged the potential introduction of a so-called 'ultra-light' fare cheaper than Lufthansa's lowest-cost 'light' pricing segment on European routes.