Lufthansa (LH, Frankfurt International) has announced it has ordered five whitetail B787-9s with deliveries scheduled to begin in 2021, as well as five incremental A350-900s with deliveries set for 2027 and 2028.

"Even in these challenging times, we are continuing to invest in a more modern, more efficient and a lower emission Lufthansa Group fleet. At the same time, we are pushing ahead with the modernization of our long-haul fleet even faster than planned prior to the coronavirus pandemic due to anticyclical opportunities," the group's Chief Executive Carsten Spohr said.

The order for five B787-9s increases the group's total backlog for the type to 25 aircraft. Lufthansa said the deliveries of the five newly ordered aircraft, which despite being built, were never delivered to their original customers, will begin during the winter 2021/22 season and conclude in the first half of 2022. Lufthansa refused to confirm the identity of the whitetails when contacted by ch-aviation.

While the group confirmed that the five whitetail B787-9s would be operated by Lufthansa, it has yet to disclose where it will place the 20 it ordered in 2019, which are due to deliver between 2022 and 2025. The initial press release included renderings in the liveries of Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, and Swiss.

In turn, the five A350s are not whitetails and will be delivered much later - in 2027 and 2028. The incremental order increases the group's backlog of the type to 45, of which 17 have already been delivered, the ch-aviation fleets module shows.

Lufthansa said the B787-9s and A350-900s will "essentially" replace all A340s in its fleet. The carrier currently operates seventeen A340-300s, having retired all A340-600s in 2020.