Lufthansa Group’s supervisory board has announced that subsidiary carrier Swiss International Air Lines will replace its existing A320 fleet with a firm order for 15 A320neo aircraft and has secured commitments on 10 more, with the follow-on order to be confirmed at a later stage.
The A320neos will gradually renew and replace Swiss International Air Lines’ existing fleet of Airbus A320-family aircraft. Deliveries of the A320neos to the Swiss carrier will begin in 2019.
“Our decision to go with the cleanest, the most reliable and the most efficient belongs to the image of Switzerland, thus the A320neo was a natural fit with our modernization strategy,” says Nico Buchholz, executive vice president Lufthansa Group fleet management.
In announcing the 25-aircraft deal for Swiss International Air Lines, the Lufthansa Group supervisory board announced it had also approved an order for 10 Airbus A320ceo jets for group subsidiary Eurowings.
Eurowings currently operates a fleet of 23 Bombardier CRJ900 regional jets. It flies them on behalf of Germanwings, the lower-cost Lufthansa Group carrier which has taken over all of Lufthansa’s mainline short-haul European flights to German cities other than Lufthansa’s two hubs at Frankfurt and Munich.
According to Lufthansa Group, the 10 new A320s for Eurowings will be delivered in 2016 and 2017 and will replace CRJ900s on a one-for-one basis. Lufthansa Group says it will also transfer 13 more new A320s to Eurowings from the group’s other outstanding A320 orders, replacing the rest of the CRJ900s now in Eurowings’ fleet.
Eurowings’ A320 operation will become the backbone of the new low-cost business model announced by the group in July, which calls for Eurowings to begin operating low-cost mainline flights within Europe.
Swiss International Air Lines is the national airline of Switzerland and currently operates Airbus A319s, A320s, A321s, A330s and A340s, as well as Avro RJ85s. The Zurich-based carrier also has 30 Bombardier CS100s and six Boeing 777-300ERs on order, with deliveries of the former type due to begin in 2016 and the latter type in 2015.
With more than 400 Airbus aircraft in operation, Lufthansa Group is Airbus’ biggest airline-group operator. It is also Airbus’ biggest airline customer, with more than 580 aircraft purchased, including the new orders announced on September 17.
Lufthansa Group operates one of the largest Airbus A320-family fleets in the world, with almost 300 A320-family jets currently in service at group carriers Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Germanwings, Lufthansa and Swiss International Air Lines.
Eurowings has operated Airbus A319s in the past, in the 1990s and early 2000s. The aircraft it operated later entered the fleet of Germanwings, which originally was a subsidiary of Eurowings but which Eurowings sold to Lufthansa Group in December 2008.
Düsseldorf-based Eurowings itself was already 49 per cent-owned by Lufthansa Group and the group also held an option, subsequently exercised, to purchase Eurowings’ remaining shares.
Nearly 11,000 Airbus A320-family aircraft have been ordered to date and more than 6,200 have been delivered.
At the end of August 2014, the new Airbus A320neo family had accumulated firm orders for more than 3,250 aircraft from 60 customers.