On February 28, 2022, Lufthansa decided to move an Airbus A340, registration D-AIHI, relocating the aircraft to Malta International Airport (MLA) after spending almost the last two years in storage at Teruel Airport (TEV ) in Spain.
Move the plane
In 2020, Lufthansa (like many other airlines around the world) has parked a large part of its airline fleet in storage airports around the world. The airline was facing a heavy impact from the COVID-19 pandemic and was unable to utilize its fleet, especially long-haul aircraft.
Lufthansa still has several aircraft parked. According to ch-aviationthe German carrier still has 78 aircraft stored in different locations (its fleet has 279 aircraft).
The airline has stored two Airbus A319s, one A320neo, 16 A320s, 42 A321s, three A330s, eight A340-600s, one A350-900, three Boeing 747-400s and two B747-8s.
One of Lufthansa’s parked Airbus A340-600s was moved from Teruel airport in Spain yesterday. The airline took the plane to Malta for a two-hour flight.
The reason why Lufthansa moved the A340-600, registration D-AIHI, to Malta is currently unknown. We have contacted Lufthansa for comment but have not received a response so far. We’ll let you know if that changes. Nonetheless, the carrier has a maintenance provider in Malta, so moving D-AIHI there could signal that Lufthansa is about to start operating the aircraft again.
Lufthansa Technik Malta is a joint venture between Lufthansa and Air Malta and provides line and base maintenance for short-haul and long-haul aircraft, including the A340.
Sell other A340-600s
Last year, Lufthansa put 12 Airbus A340-600 fleets on sale. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the airline operated 17 of the four-engine jet aircraft. The other A340-600s are registered D-AIHI, D-AIHP, D-AIHT, D-AIHU and D-AIHV. They have an average age of 15 years.
According to ch-aviation, the remaining five A340-600s are expected to continue operating until at least 2023. After that, the airline will replace its aging fleet with newer A350-900s.
Additionally, Lufthansa said last year that it aimed to operate the A340s on routes primarily to North America and Asia, reactivating them in the summer of 2022. Nevertheless, due to the ban current situation of Russian airspace over European Union countries, Lufthansa is unlikely to use its A340 fleet for flights to Asia.
Interestingly, in March Lufthansa has 42 scheduled flights with its A340-600 fleet. The airline has five scheduled flights between Munich and Boston using the model and 16 between Frankfurt and Washington-Dulles, according to data provided by Cirium.
Lufthansa parked many long-haul aircraft in 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: Getty Images
Lufthansa long-haul connectivity
Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lufthansa’s long-haul connectivity is still below its pre-pandemic capacity levels. As of March 2022, the airline has 2,588 scheduled flights with its Airbus A330, A340, A350 and Boeing B747 families, according to Cirium. It has nearly 800,000 available seats, still down 41.3% and 45.3% from March 2019 levels, respectively. Nevertheless, Lufthansa has increased the utilization of its Airbus A350 fleet by 11.3% in recent years.
Lufthansa expects to receive its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner this year, although Boeing’s ongoing problems with Dreamliner production may impact Lufthansa’s plans.
Germany’s flag carrier has an order for 25 units of the popular jumbo jet. The registration of Lufthansa’s first 787-9 is D-ABPE, and it was spotted last month at Boeing’s Charleston, South Carolina site.
Why do you think Lufthansa moved its Airbus A340-600 from Spain to Malta? Let us know in the comments below.
The airline is in preliminary talks with lessors for 10 to 20 of the long-haul airframes.
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