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Temporarily or forever?

Lufthansa is parking all of its Airbus A340 in Spain

All Airbus A340-600s will be parked in the east of Spain for at least one year. It is yet to be decided if and how many of the aircraft will be returning.

On 7 April, Lufthansa announced the early retirement of seven of its 17 Airbus A340-600s in response to the Corona crisis. Apparently that was not enough. The airline has further reduced its flight plan and is now saying goodbye, at least temporarily, to all of the 75.3-meter-long quad jet aircraft.

«Three aircraft have already been flown to Teruel in northeastern Spain,» Lufthansa announced on Thursday (16 April). In the next two to three months, all other A340-600s are scheduled to follow. «The use of these aircraft in regular scheduled services is not planned for at least the next one to one and a half years.»

Parking with lots of sunshine

The definite fate of the Airbus A340-600s will be decided later on. A re-entry into service is possible for at the most ten of the long-haul jets. Teruel is located between Saragossa and Valencia in Aragon. «With around 240 days of sunshine a year and little rainfall, the region is particularly suitable for aircraft parking,» says Lufthansa. In Teruel, the Airbus, Suez and Safran joint venture Tarmac Aerosave operates a parking facility for 115 aircraft.

Lufthansa’s A340-600s are between 11 and 16.5 years old. They come in two versions: one with 281 seats (eight in First, 56 in Business, 28 in Premium Economy and 189 in Economy Class) and one with 297 seats (eight in First, 44 in Business, 32 in Premium Economy and 213 in Economy). Due to their four engines, these aircraft are not very efficient, especially when fuel prices are higher.

Swiss opts for smaller A340-300

Lufthansa also owns 17 of the smaller A340-300s, four of which are operated by Lufthansa Citylinie. Three of the subsidiary’s four aircraft are retiring. Lufthansa’s subsidiary Swiss, on the other hand, wants to rely fully on its five A340-300s for its new start after the Corona crisis. «With them we own the ideal aircraft,» Swiss CEO Thomas Klühr recently said. For Swiss it makes sense because the A340 only offer 224 seats, compared with 340 on the Boeing 777.

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