Lufthansa (LH, Frankfurt International) has ordered seven incremental B787-9s and accelerated the deliveries of previously ordered aircraft of the type to compensate for the B777-9's delayed service entry.

The German airline said the seven B787s, which will deliver in 2025 and 2026, were assumed from other customers who will not be taking these units up. Lufthansa Group previously ordered twenty-five B787-9s for distribution among its constituent carriers, including five whitetails opportunistically ordered in May 2021. The deliveries of "some" of these 25 aircraft have been accelerated from 2024 to 2023, although Lufthansa did not disclose a detailed timeline.

As it currently stands, the timeline for the induction of these aircraft is currently uncertain as all B787 deliveries have been paused due to manufacturing issues. Boeing hopes to certify the necessary fixes soon and possibly restart deliveries later this summer season.

Lufthansa stressed that the changes to its B787-9 order book will help it compensate for its delayed B777-9s of which the group has twenty on firm order from Boeing. While they were initially scheduled to begin arriving in 2023, the manufacturer recently conceded that due to a lengthy certification process, the first B777-9 will now only enter service in 2025.

Shortly before placing the order, Group Chief Executive Carsten Spohr said during a quarterly earnings call that the group was in talks with Boeing about alternative solutions, including adding new aircraft and compensation, to offset the capacity lost due to the B777X delays. He said the group was also evaluating options to extend the service life of its A340-300s, possibly also A340-600s and in case of booming demand, even the A380-800s.

"We can look at what we still have around and that we could use to fill capacity in 2024 and 2025, assuming that we won’t have the B777X then. We could use the A340-330 or maybe the -600," Spohr said.

He underlined that the group's position concerning the fourteen A380s, which were retired during the COVID-19 pandemic, has not changed. They will be reactivated only in the event of unexpectedly high demand.

The ch-aviation fleets module shows that Lufthansa currently operates seventeen A340-300s and the same number of -600s. The subfleets are 22.6 and 16.2 years old on average, respectively.

Simultaneously, the holding ordered ten freighters for Lufthansa Cargo (LH, Frankfurt International), including three B777-200Fs and seven B777-8Fs. The -200Fs will comprise one second-hand unit reassigned from an undisclosed airline to Lufthansa Cargo and two new units. The B777-8Fs are scheduled to start delivering in 2027. Lufthansa Cargo said it would also extend leases for two B777-200Fs that were due to expire in 2024. The cargo specialist currently operates eleven B777-200Fs and wet-leases one A321-200(P2F) from sister carrier Lufthansa CityLine (CL, Munich). It is also a 50% shareholder in AeroLogic (3S, Leipzig/Halle) which operates a further twenty B777-200Fs, sharing the capacity between Lufthansa Cargo and DHL Express.