Lufthansa will soon be flying four Airbus A350s previously leased to Philippine Airlines – and the German flag-carrier's customers will discover these have a superior business class seat to Lufthansa's own front-of-cabin experience.
Due to take wing in the first half of 2022s, they'll swell the size of Lufthansa's A350 fleet to 21 as the Star Alliance member swoops on a post-pandemic travel recovery.
"The Airbus A350 is one of the most modern aircraft of our time. Extremely fuel-efficient, very quiet and much more economical than its predecessors," noted Lufthansa's Dr Detlef Kayser when the A350 lease was announced over the weekend.
"Our customers appreciate not only the sustainability but also the premium flight experience with this aircraft. The lease agreements allow us to remain flexible in fleet planning and make the most of exceptional market opportunities."
So far, so good, with Lufthansa promising these extra A350s will "strength the five-star airline's premium offering."
Second-hand jets with superior seats
That right-sizing process includes handing many leased jets back to the their lessors – and German aviation site aero.de reports that four ex-Philippine Airlines A350s have bounced from the books of those leasing firms over to Lufthansa.
Apart from being painted in Lufthansa's colours and otherwise 'de-branded' from Philippine Airlines, Lufthansa won't be swapping out the seats for example, and that's a clear win for passengers.
"Compared to the current product, the incoming aircraft will have an upgraded business class, for example with direct aisle access for all guests," a Lufthansa spokesman told aero.de.
This means that business class travellers on these four ex-PAL A350s can look forward to this:
Philippine Airlines' A350s are crowned with the popular Vantage XL suites from Thompson Aero (the same business class platform adopted by Qantas and EVA Air, among others).
By comparison, Lufthansa's Airbus A350s have been fitted with the airline's standard business class seats, which are in an out-dated 2-2-2 layout and offer far less personal space for each traveller.
Lufthansa is still waiting to roll out its long-promised next-generation business class – revealed in 2017, and also developed by Thompson Aero – on the delayed Boeing 777-9s, which the airline is now unlikely to see until 2024.
It's been reported that Thompson's Vantage XL suites are also slated for Lufthansa's forthcoming Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners from 2022, although those would be customised to Lufthansa's own spec.
A little further down the track, 2023 will see a fresh take on first class for ten Airbus A350s to be based at Lufthansa's Munich hub.