The Lufthansa Group airlines are poised to make a major investment in new aircraft and onboard amenities in the next few years, as the world emerges from Covid restrictions and travel rebounds.
“We are moving out of the coronavirus crisis mode,” Lufthansa’s vice president of passenger sales for the Americas, Dirk Janzen, said at a briefing of media in New York. “We are doing much better than expected.”
The Lufthansa Group, which includes the eponymous German flag carrier as well as Austrian, Brussels, and Swiss airlines, has kicked off what it described as “the largest fleet modernization in our corporate history,” with fully 200 planes on order, expected to be delivered at a rate of one every two weeks for the rest of the decade.
Janzen noted that Lufthansa now is operating the first of 32 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners it has ordered; the twin-aisle jet was recently deployed on flights between Frankfurt and Newark Liberty International. The carrier had also hoped by now to be operating one of Boeing’s newest widebody models, the 777-9, but that plane has now been delayed until 2025, so Lufthansa is instead going to launch a new planned business class next year on newly delivered Airbus A350s as well as the Dreamliners.
That new business class is a key part of one of the company’s other major initiatives; dubbed “Allegris,” it’s a 2.5 billion euro overhaul of cabin interiors on long-distance flights in all four classes of service (economy, premium economy, business and first class). Among the highlights:
Lufthansa’s new first-class section will feature spacious suites with nearly ceiling-high walls that can be closed for privacy; the seat can be converted into a full-size bed. Each suite will also have a large closet, and enough room for fliers to easily change into a set of the airline’s signature pajamas.
- The refurbished business class also has more privacy than previous iterations, with higher walls and sliding doors, and every seat will have aisle access. More storage space and a monitor up to 27 inches in size are also included.
- The improvements extend to the new premium economy, where a new seat is built into a hard shell and can be adjusted without bothering the passenger in the row behind; it also comes with a 15.6-inch monitor and premium noise-canceling headphones.
- And in standard economy, Lufthansa is expanding on a recent innovation called “sleeper’s row” https://www.lufthansa.com/us/en/sleepers-row, allowing coach passengers on flights of 11 hours or more to stretch out on a row of three seats which, covered with a mattress, convert into a narrow bed. The “Sleeper’s Row 2.0”, to be launched next year, will give occupants a reclining surface that is 40% larger than the original version. And in another extra-space option, economy travelers will be offered the option of booking an empty adjacent seat.
Lufthansa’s Janzen said the combined moves “will keep us competitive and fulfill expectations of our customers” in the coming years. Further details will be released early next year, and the actual product line is slated to be rolled out beginning in the Fall of 2023.