Coronavirus casualties: Lufthansa retires Airbus A380s, Boeing 747s

Lufthansa says it will "take years until the worldwide demand for air travel returns to pre-crisis levels."

By David Flynn, April 8 2020
Coronavirus casualties: Lufthansa retires Airbus A380s, Boeing 747s

Lufthansa will retire almost half of its Airbus A380s and Boeing 747 fleet in the face of what's expected to be a prolonged downturn in demand for travel.

The German flag-carrier says "it will take months until the global travel restrictions are completely lifted and years until the worldwide demand for air travel returns to pre-crisis levels" – which means its extensive aircraft fleet needs to be downsized to suit what's quickly becoming the new normal.

Six of Lufthansa's 14 Airbus A380s, which were previously scheduled to be sold to Airbus in 2022, will "be permanently decommissioned".

Five of Lufthansa's 13 Boeing 747-400s, along with seven of 17 Airbus A340-600s, will be scrapped "based on the environmental as well as economic disadvantages of these aircraft types," the airline says.

Also for the chop are 21 short-range Airbus A320s across the Lufthansa and Eurowings fleets, plus three Airbus A340-300s attached to the leisure-oriented Lufthansa Cityline arm, while Eurowings' long-range operations "will also be reduced."

The airline also flagged forthcoming cuts from stablemates Swiss and Austrian.

Swiss "will also adjust its fleet size by delaying deliveries of new short haul aircraft and consider early phase-outs of older aircraft", which could mean a premature end for some of the recently-upgraded Airbus A340s.

In addition, "the restructuring programs already initiated at Austrian Airlines and Brussels Airlines will be further intensified due to the coronavirus crisis. Among other things, both companies are working on reducing their fleets."

Austrian Airlines, which last week suspended all flights until at least May 2020, warned overnight that it expects to see only "25-50% of the demand in summer 2020 compared to 2019."

"Austrian also anticipates a significant reduction in demand for 2021 and the 'pre-corona level' will probably not be reached until 2023 at the earliest."


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 795

Two of each will be heading to NZ shortly to repatriate German tourists.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 May 2013

Total posts 353

A Lufthansa 747-400 just flew over the north of Tasmania on it's way back to Germany (via BKK) from New Zealand.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1272

Nope, LH is sending five of each to NZ.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 363

Wow, it's just incredible the impact that CV is having on every layer of the travel industry. These are really big decision to retire aircraft and it only seems like yesterday that the A380 come online, and now decisions to retire part of the fleet.

22 Jan 2018

Total posts 92

Very sad. I wonder how CV will affect hub and spoke airlines like EK with a gazillion A380s in their fleet

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Apr 2013

Total posts 40

I don't know about most here, but ill be on the first leisure flight out of here once it is safe to do so hahaha

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Jan 2018

Total posts 116

You won't be alone there!

22 May 2011

Total posts 72

Article headline is a bit misleading - it should say “some”

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Nov 2015

Total posts 42

I can't wait to get to Japan next year for a ski and then later on, the Olympics.

I suspect the rebound by folk and business' that can afford it, will be stunning.

On the other hand, wild horses won't get me or the Bride anywhere near a Cruise Liner, ever.

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Coronavirus casualties: Lufthansa retires Airbus A380s, Boeing 747s