Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Lufthansa: I'll Have The Blue Ones, Please

Although not the subject of a formal announcement at this writing, it's been on the wire services that Lufthansa is going to pop for 20 of the Boeing 747-8 long haul aircraft. The formal announcement is forthcoming.

The 747-8 is the product improved version of the Boeing workhorse which will incorporate new engines and a mild stretch to come closer to the niche now occupied by the A380 Albatross.

What's really important here is what this signifies, and that is that one of the flagship operators of the A380 is hedging its bets on the A380. That can't be good news in Toulouse, knowing that one of your premier flag carriers in a partner country is showing signs of defecting to the competition.

However, this is not the first time we've discussed Lufthansa in this connection.

Here's what we said back in June of this year.

It is rumored that something's going on in Lufthansa that has to do with fuel economy on the A380 and it has to do with whether the fuel consumption is 2.9 or 3.2 liters per passenger per 100 klicks.Apparently there's a split between what sort of fuel consumption per seat mile was guaranteed and what is actually taking place. This could be due to a number of reasons. If the fuel consumption was predicated on 555 seats, it would of course look better than it does at a more realistic figure of around 500 seats.As we discussed here in February, the 800 pound gorilla on the coffee table is the fact that there's just not enough excess payload capacity on the Albatross to allow for 555 seats, luggage, cargo and range.Stay tuned-this could be a big issue if it has legs.

I believe I also mentioned that some Lufthansa execs were in Seattle over the summer to take a look at the proposals that Boeing had.

It's nice to see that some of the prognostications I've been peddling over the last 11 months are starting to bear fruit. What's not so nice is seeing that I'm a bit of a Cassandra.

Stay tuned.


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