(MENAFN- The Peninsula) Bloomberg
Deutsche Lufthansa AG will return five aging Airbus SE A340 jets to service in order to boost the availability of first-class seats as travel demand continues to rebound from the coronavirus crisis.
The wide-body jets will be brought out of storage and commence flying in time for next summer, a spokeswoman for the German company said by telephone.
The decision to bring back the A340s alongside five already back in service follows a decision to resume flights with A380 superjumbos, the biggest planes in the Lufthansa fleet. The moves mark a shift in thinking on the high fuel-burn models, which at the height of the pandemic had seemed likely to be permanently retired, as they have been at some other major carriers. Read Also
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Lufthansa aims to deploy the A340-600s, the longest Airbus model in its fleet, at its main Frankfurt hub in order to broaden its offering of premium berths, German aviation website Aero Telegraph reported earlier. The plane's 297 seats include eight in first class, 44 in business and 32 in premium economy, it said.
The A340s returned to service this year have been deployed in Munich, and while the A380s also offer first class, only three of the double-deckers may be brought back, according to Lufthansa's latest thinking. The carrier's Boeing Co. 747-8s also feature the class, as will a new fleet of Airbus A350-900s, though deliveries aren't due until later this year.
Still, the move may prove controversial with environmental lobbies, with the four-engine A340s ranging from 14 to 19 years old and significantly less efficient than the latest models.
The Frankfurtflyer newsletter, which reported on Lufthansa's A340 plans last week, said likely destinations to be served by the aircraft include New York, Hong Kong and Bogota.
Boeing 777Xs ordered by Lufthansa are also due to feature a first-class cabin but the model has slipped five years behind schedule with deliveries postponed to 2025.
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