Airbus S.A. has a new order estimated at $12 billion to supply 20 more A350-900 widebody aircraft to Lufthansa Group, the OEM’s largest customer. The new contract would bring the carrier’s total number of A350 XWB jets to 45, with 12 already in service and 13 on order. The A350 XWB is a widebody aircraft, available in configurations for 300 to over 400 passengers, and available for long-distance service on routes up to 9,700 nm (17,960 km.)
According to reports, the order is in line with an effort by Lufthansa to conserve operating costs by replacing its remaining four-engine aircraft. The new Airbus widebodies will be delivered between 2022 and 2027.
“By replacing four-engine planes with new models, we are laying a sustainable foundation for our future in the long run,” according to Lufthansa Group CEO and chairman Carsten Spohr. Lufthansa also operates a number of Boeing 747 aircraft (a four-engine design) and has orders in place for 20 Boeing 777 and 20 Boeing 787 Dreamliner twin-engine aircraft.
Airbus also emphasizes the fuel efficiency of the A350 XWB, based on its updated aerodynamics, carbon-fiber fuselage and wing structures, and the twin Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines. The aircraft supplier credits the A350 XWB with 25% reduction in fuel burn and emissions, and claims it offers “the quietest of any twin-aisle” aircraft cabin.
Through February, the A350 XWB series had drawn 852 firm orders from 48 customers since the announced redesign of the A350 in 2006.
In addition to the new aircraft order, Lufthansa reportedly also agreed to sell six of its 14 Airbus A380 widebody aircraft back to Airbus in the 2022-2023 period. Airbus recently announced the end of the A380 program, and Lufthansa follows Qatar Airways in its decision to discontinue operating that series.