During these difficult times, airlines, airports and aircraft manufacturers are all facing one of the worst slumps in aviation history. Entire airports are shut, airlines have ceased operations, some temporarily and some permanently and aircraft manufacturers are having to cut back on production or face order cancellations - the very recent being Boeing’s 777X. At present both Lufthansa and Cathay Pacific are considering changes to their orders, according to reports.
Cathay Pacific has over 50 Boeing 777s in its fleet and 21 of the new Boeing 777-9s on order, deliveries of which are to begin in 2021. The delivery of these new aircraft would be accompanied by the retirement of the older versions. The Seattle Times, however, reports on a rumor that Cathay Pacific may be canceling their Boeing 777X order, but nothing has been confirmed yet by either Cathay Pacific or Boeing. The rumors surfaced because Cathay Pacific extended their lease on many Boeing 777-300ERs by 10 years and is rumored to do the same with a further 10 Boeing aircraft.
Lufthansa, the airline that is supposed to be the launch customer of Boeing’s flagship 777X is currently in talks with the manufacturer to transfer the 777X orders to more 777Fs. At present due to the COVID-19 situation, a majority of the Lufthansa operation is focused on freight, hence the interest in new freight aircraft. Lufthansa’s MD-11Fs were supposed to be decommissioned by the end of the year 2020, however, an insider tells German publication Aero.de that the MD-11F’s withdrawal is likely to be extended. If this does happen, Lufthansa would receive a new 777F this fall. Apart from this, the Lufthansa Group CEO Carsten Spohr said that the Group would no longer receive a new aircraft every 10 days for the next 10 years, but expects the group to reach normal operation levels within three years.
Moreover, Lufthansa has already retired seven A340-600s, six A380s, and five 747-400s from its fleet due to the pandemic. Lufthansa on Thursday announced that it would be temporarily withdrawing all of its Airbus A340-600s for at least one year citing the coronavirus pandemic.