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."