Lufthansa is weighing the Airbus A350, Boeing 787 and Boeing 777X as contenders for its mid-sized international fleet, and is likely to make the call – and place a massive order – by year's end.
The timeframe for signing on the dotted line is "still probably this year, it’s quite imminent" Lufthansa CEO Christoph Franz told Australian Business Traveller.
Speaking on the sidelines of a media event to welcome EVA Air into the Star Alliance group, of which Lufthansa is a founding member, Franz said the order – tipped to be for as many as 50 aircraft – would fall into "the segment between the smaller aircraft like the A330, and on the other side the big guys, the 747-8I and the A380."
"There is something in between (where) we need aircraft, and we are now in the process deciding whether this could be from the A350 family, or the 787 or 777X family" Franz said.
The German flag-carrier is said to be leaning towards the larger of the mid-sized models, such as the A350-1000 and the Boeing 787-9 or 787-10, with the aircraft due to start flying around 2020.
Franz said that the Dreamliner's worldwide grounding would not colour his judgement when it came to a Boeing-or- Airbus decision.
"These are problems which happen if you have a very innovative new generation of aircraft. You should expect something like this to happen. I am absolutely convinced (by) the time the first aircraft will be delivered to Lufthansa it will all be forgotten."
No plans to fly to Australia
However, Franz has ruled out adding Australia to Lufthansa's network, explaining that the airline's current strategy is to grow by increasing aircraft capacity rather than opening new routes.
"What we are doing is growing by size of aircraft, growing capacity-wise", which he said would deliver "fairly risk-reduced growth in existing markets."
Australian Business Traveller is attending the EVA Air / Star Alliance media event in Taipei as a guest of Star Alliance.
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