Lufthansa Group has announced significant additions to its widebody fleet order backlog given the upcoming retirement of select four-engined Airbus aircraft.

In a statement, the German holding said it had ordered twenty B787-9s from Boeing - its first of the type - and twenty additional A350-900s from Airbus. Lufthansa (LH, Frankfurt Int'l) is currently in the process of adding the first of twenty-five A350-900s on order from the Europeans of which twelve have thus far been delivered.

Although the group will only decide where it will deploy the incoming widebodies in the future, it did hint at possible placements with its Swiss (LX, Zurich) and Austrian Airlines (OS, Vienna) subsidiaries, in particular the latter where the replacement of its six B767-300(ER)s and six B777-200(ER)s has been a long burning issue.

Deliveries of the new aircraft will take place between late 2022 and 2027.

In tandem with this announcement, Lufthansa Group also confirmed it will retire six of its fourteen A380-800s from service in 2022 and 2023. The affected aircraft have already been sold to an unspecified third party for an undisclosed sum.

"Lufthansa continuously monitors the profitability of its world-wide route network," it said. "As a consequence, the group is reducing the size of its Airbus A380 fleet from 14 aircraft to eight for economic reasons. The structure of the network and the long-haul fleet, fundamentally optimized according to strategic aspects, will give the company more flexibility and at the same time increase its efficiency and competitiveness. This will of course also benefit Lufthansa’s customers."

Lufthansa is also expected to retire various other fleet types from service over the coming years including its A340s (fifteen A340-300s and seventeen -600s) and B747-400s (of which it operates thirteen) given increasing age. For its part, Swiss operates five A340-300s.