Lufthansa sells six A380s back to Airbus; eyes Condor acquisition

Lauren Eldershaw
By Lauren Eldershaw March 15, 2019 16:16

Lufthansa sells six A380s back to Airbus; eyes Condor acquisition

Yesterday, Lufthansa Group announced the purchase of 40 Boeing 787-9 and Airbus A350-900 long-haul aircraft – to be delivered between 2022 and 2027 – that will replace its A340 fleet. Today, the airline group further revealed that it has sold six of its 14 A380 aircraft back to Airbus due to “economic reasons” – the supposed translation of that phrase is that it simply couldn’t fill them. The aircraft will be leaving Lufthansa in 2022 and 2023. The purchasing price is not being disclosed but Lufthansa stated that the transaction “will not affect the group’s earnings performance”.

Fundamentally restructuring its long-haul fleet and network, Lufthansa says, “will give the company more flexibility and at the same time increase its efficiency and competitiveness”.

Carsten Spohr, CEO and Chairman of Lufthansa Group, stated that by replacing its “four-engine planes with new models, we are laying a sustainable foundation for our future in the long run. In addition to the cost-effectiveness of the A350 and B787, the significantly lower CO2 emissions of this new generation of long-haul aircraft was also a decisive factor in our investment decision.”

Meanwhile, in an earnings call, Spohr suggested that the group could be interested in purchasing Condor from Thomas Cook, which is exploring the sale of its airline. Lufthansa was a previous owner of Condor before it was acquired fully by Thomas Cook in 2009. Spohr said that acquiring Condor could be one way of expanding its Eurowings low-cost brand out of Munich and Frankfurt with an ultimate aim of capturing 15% of leisure traffic from those airports.

“So assuming we’ll one way or another…get hold of Condor be it through an acquisition, be it through with bankruptcy, that could be the number of airplanes we could end up in Frankfurt and Munich,” he said. Spohr added that he was doubtful that Thomas Cook would find a buyer for the entire airline or that anyone else would bid for Condor separately; he also noted that Lufthansa’s acquisition of Condor would raise antitrust concerns.

“If somebody would want to do it against us, I think it’s very unlikely because there is more than 30 percent feed on Condor airplanes by Lufthansa short-haul. So I don’t think that anybody could operate that against us out of Frankfurt or Munich, so we are quite relaxed,” he said.

Lauren Eldershaw
By Lauren Eldershaw March 15, 2019 16:16