Lufthansa buys new Airbus and Boeing planes

LUFTHANSA has unveiled a €14bn (£11.8bn) order for 59 wide-body jets, split between Airbus and Boeing to replace its ageing fleet as it fights to win customers from fast-growing Middle East and low-cost rivals.

Yesterday’s deal will see Lufthansa launch a new and larger version of Boeing’s 777 long-range jet and expands on a sweeping fleet renewal by Europe’s largest airline in terms of revenues after it signed up for 100 Airbus short-haul planes in March.

Lufthansa said the order, which the supervisory board had approved on Wednesday, would help it cut fuel consumption and shrink unit costs by about 20 per cent compared with old aircraft models.

The carrier said yesterday it had also taken out options on another 30 of each type of aircraft.

Lufthansa is in the middle of its most aggressive corporate restructuring campaign in two decades, which includes 3,500 job cuts, and is investing in modern jets to cut its fuel bill and catch up with rivals, particularly in the hotly fought-over routes between Europe and Asia.

Outgoing chief executive Christoph Franz warned against any let-up in restructuring efforts needed to pay for the new planes and better cabins and said management was committed to continuing with cost cuts even after his departure.

“Without the successful implementation of [savings programme] Score, we will not earn the necessary funds to order these planes,” Franz, who is stepping down next May to join Swiss drugmaker Roche, told a news conference in defence of cost cuts that have faced opposition from labour representatives.