09 November 2012

No fixed order for A350 XWB from any of European legacy airlines yet. British Airways, Iberia, Air France and Lufthansa making serious cuts to survive.

4 Nations A350 XWB workshare and financial support has nothing to be with orders from main national legacy airliners.

Let´s see how main national airlines from Airbus #4 nations are supporting the A350 XWB program with orders; Lufthansa, Air France, British Airways and Iberia. Government assistance will be needed, as USA makes with Boeing.
Europe's four legacy airlines are making serious cuts to stem mounting losses, but it will be a very long time before they are remotely near the healthy profit margins of 4-5 years ago.

British Airways has orders for #12 A380 and the rest of the fleet of Boeing 777, 787 and 747. No A330/A340. No order for A350 expected but for 787-10X.
International Airlines Group (IAG) unit British Airways is currently in advanced discussions with Boeing for an order of up to #60 Boeing 787-10X Dreamliners to replace all of its 777-200ERs and to expand British’s international network in Asia, as per Aspire Aviation‘s information. Also they are assessing A350-1000 for 747 replacement.
British Airways currently has 52 Boeing 777 aircraft in its fleet, with #4 additional ordered. It has also orders for #8 787-8 and #16 787-9.  

Iberia has full Airbus long-haul fleet with #42 A330/A340 and no Boeing aircraft. No orders for A350 as of today.
The loss-making Spanish unit of IAG could receive the 787s ordered by British (#8+#16) Iberia to tap into soaring air travel demand in South America.
Iberia's management is working on a large-scale restructuring plan to stave mounting red ink. Substantial capacity cuts are planned with 4.500 job cuts and 4-engine A340 fleet withdrawal. The downsizing will affect short-haul runs and long-haul flying to Latin America with global figures of 15% network downsize. Some months ago it was created its short-haul affiliate, Iberia Express.

 Air France has a long-haul fleet of #66 B777 and #28 A330/A340. Additionally, #12 A380. It has a MOU for #25 A350 since one year that has not been converted in a firm order yet.
Transform 2015 restructuring plan aims to improve efficiency by 20% to save €2 billion annually. The passengers business is split into 3 divisions; long-haul, the Paris Charles de Gaulle-based medium-haul routes, and a unit that covers Paris Orly and the regional airports. “Each of the business units must optimize the economic performance of its scope of activity,” Air France states.
Air France-KLM has already eliminated 5,000 jobs and there are plans for additional 1,300 job cuts.

Lufthansa, has a splitted long-haul fleet with #68 A330/A340, #10 A380 and #27 747 plus #16 747-8i orders from Boeing. No orders for A350 as of today.
Lufthansa is taking more drastic steps in its Score reorganization plan; they are transferring to its lower-cost subsidiary, Germanwings all point-to-point activities except long-haul and hub-and-spoke routes that will remain with Lufthansa. Lufthansa has delayed an upgrade of the inter-continental plane fleet.
Lufthansa is seeking to unify standards for engines and cockpits across its group of five airlines to boost purchasing power; the aim is to find a common denominator to place one single order and negotiate more favorable terms and conditions for aircraft, including the Airbus A320neo family, Bombardier CSeries, the Boeing 787 or the A350. In its long-haul fleet, Luthansa will pare down its 6 aircraft types -in 16 different versions- to 4 aircraft versions.

“Our European operations have been taking substantial losses for a number of years. We are also seeing prices fall on long-haul routes,” Lufthansa CEO Christoph Franz says.
Lufthansa is cutting 3,500 administrative posts and as many as 1,000 in catering.

Long-haul operations (where the market of A350 XWB is) are under structural changes with the recent links forged by Qatar Airways/Oneworld, Etihad/Air France-KLM and Emirates/Qantas Airways. It is the way the Airliners have found to face the sluggish economy,  the persistently high oil prices (jumping 15% per quarter) and the cargo traffic fell, hurt by the economy and industry overcapacity.

[corrected and updated]
Based on article “Lufthansa to unify standards on future aircraft orders” published in ATW
Based on article "Europe's legacy airlines are trying to revamp short-haul flying" published in Aviation Week
Based on article "British Airways Proceeding With Replacement of Biggest 747 Fleet"    published in Blommberg
Based on article “Air France, Lufthansa Earnings Trump Estimates on Cost Cuts” published in Blommberg


  1. U forgot the LH Boeing 747-400 an 8i Fleet. ;-)

  2. Exactly....I think as of today the have 23 B744, and 4 748, with another 16 748 on order! That's quite a big part of their long-range fleet actually!

  3. Thanks for your comments. The post has been corrected and updated.