Lufthansa has announced that its first 10 Airbus A350-900s will be based at Munich Airport, the airline’s second-largest hub, and will begin operating long-haul commercial services from there in January 2017.
The airline says it expects Delhi and Boston to be the first long-haul destinations it serves with the A350-900.
Previously Lufthansa Group had confirmed to this reporter that Lufthansa would take delivery of its first A350-900 in November 2016.
So Lufthansa’s announcement of the January 2017 launch of A350-900 long-haul services suggests the airline will take a month or more to familiarize aircrews, flight attendants and ground crews with the new aircraft type.
Lufthansa might also conduct initial short-haul services with its first A350-900 to gain operating experience with the aircraft before introducing it on its long-haul network.
“We are delighted that we are able to offer the most modern aircraft type to our long-haul passengers flying out from Munich. The A350 also constitutes an active step towards noise protection,” says Thomas Winkelmann, CEO of the Lufthansa Hub Munich.
Lufthansa will outfit each of its first 10 A350-900s with 293 passenger seats, in a three-class cabin configuration: 48 in Business Class, 21 in Premium Economy and 224 in Economy Class.
For the summer 2016 season, Lufthansa will have 26 long-haul aircraft based at Munich Airport, 19 of them A340-600s and the other seven A330-300s.
However, although Lufthansa says it hasn’t yet decided where it will deploy the other 15 of the 25 A350-900s it has ordered to date, the carrier confirms it will use its A350-900s to replace its current A340-600 fleet over time.
Lufthansa operates 24 A340-600s, its fleet of the type offering two different cabin configurations.
According to Lufthansa, the A350-900 marks the carrier’s entry into the 2-liter class: on average, each A350-900 will consume only 2.9 liters of kerosene per passenger per 100 kilometers flown, approximately 25 per cent less fuel per passenger than any of the aircraft Lufthansa currently flies.
As a result, the A350-900 will be more economical to fly than any other aircraft type in Lufthansa’s fleet.
According to Lufthansa, the Rolls‑Royce Trent XWB engines powering the A350-900 and the type’s aerodynamic design reduce noise emissions to levels well below the currently prescribed limits.
As a result, the noise footprint generated by the A350-900 is up to 50 per cent smaller than that of comparable existing aircraft.
Additionally, new insulation methods and sound-absorbing materials make the A350-900’s passenger cabin particularly quiet, according to Lufthansa.