This is exciting for avgeeks, and reflects just how nice of a recovery we’ve seen for international travel. In the summer of 2021 Lufthansa brought back five Airbus A340s, and now the airline will be bringing back a further five!
Lufthansa will fly A340-600s out of Frankfurt & Munich
Lots of airlines prematurely retired aircraft as a result of the pandemic. In September 2020, Lufthansa revealed that it would retire its fleet of 14 Airbus A380s and 17 Airbus A340-600s. These planes were in long term storage, and it was stated that they’d only be reactivated “in the event of an unexpectedly rapid market recovery.”
In the summer of 2022, Lufthansa reactivated five Airbus A340-600s, all of which have been based in Munich. Initially the plan was that these planes would only fly temporarily, and that they’d be retired after the summer of 2023.
However, Lufthansa has now revealed that it will be bringing back a further five Airbus A340-600s as of the summer of 2023, to be based in Frankfurt. So something tells me that these planes will be sticking around a bit longer than initially planned. All of this is in addition to Lufthansa reactivating Airbus A380s as of the summer of 2023, to be based in Munich.
The A340-600 holds a special place in the hearts of many avgeeks. Visually it’s one of the coolest-looking planes — it’s long as heck (it’s longer than the 747-400 and A380), and it has four huge engines. There aren’t many airlines flying the A340-600 anymore, so this is quite a rare plane.
Why Lufthansa is bringing back the A340-600s
Initially Lufthansa made the decision to reactivate five Airbus A340-600s due to “growing premium demand, for both business as well as leisure travel.” This was clearly done so that Lufthansa could strengthen its premium product out of Munich, and offer first class.
The reason this temporary solution was needed was because prior to that, Lufthansa’s only planes with first class were Boeing 747-8s, and they’re based in Frankfurt. In late summer 2023, Lufthansa plans to take delivery of some A350s with first class, which will be based in Munich.
In other words, without reactivating the A340-600s, Lufthansa wouldn’t currently be able to offer first class out of Munich until the end of the summer of 2023. But now between the A340-600s and A380s being brought back, Lufthansa will again have a considerable first class presence in Munich, even before the A350s arrive.
With Lufthansa now reactivating its A340-600s out of Frankfurt, I think this mostly just comes down to the airline hoping to increase overall capacity, given the recovery in demand we’ve seen. While A340-600s have high operating costs, they can carry a lot of cargo and passengers, and presumably the fixed costs are quite low.
Which Lufthansa routes feature the A340-600?
In which markets should you expect to find the Lufthansa Airbus A340-600? Out of Munich, Lufthansa is flying the plane to the following destinations:
- Boston (BOS) — on an ongoing basis
- Chicago (ORD) — as of March 25, 2023
- Hong Kong (HKG) — as of March 26, 2023
- Miami (MIA) — on an ongoing basis
- New York (JFK) — on an ongoing basis
- Washington (IAD) — as of April 17, 2023
Out of Frankfurt, Lufthansa will fly the plane to the following destinations:
- Bogota (BOG) — as of June 6, 2023
- Hong Kong (HKG) — as of March 26, 2023
- New York (JFK) — as of March 28, 2023
Lufthansa is continuing to put more Airbus A340-600s into service, which is exciting news. By the summer of 2023, we should see 10 A340-600s flying once again, out of both Frankfurt and Munich. While these aren’t the most modern planes in Lufthansa’s fleet, they feature first class, and it’s generally a fun plane for avgeeks.
It’s nice to see the extent to which international travel demand is recovering, as Lufthansa is reactivating a second bath of A340s.
What do you make of Lufthansa’s decision to reactivate more A340-600s?
Did you know AF will also increase the number of aircrafts with La Premiere?
Just dont fly over Iran in one, may develop Irregularities and poof...
LH is not a good airline anymore
Could this also suggest they expect a further delay in the 777x? Maybe they're expecting future delays?
I get that quad-jets have fallen from favour, environmental considerations, etc. But as a passenger [in steerage - I ain't rich enough for the front cabin] the 340 is a really great long-haul plane to be on.
Lufthansa first class is so overrated. Food wasn’t good and our ground experience was just being sent on a wild goose chase to ultimately never find the First Class lounge. Then, upon landing, we were the last people to receive our bags on the whole plane (despite the bags being tagged as “priority”). I submitted a complaint about our flight back in November and still have not heard anything from Lufthansa. Long story short save...
Lufthansa first class is so overrated. Food wasn’t good and our ground experience was just being sent on a wild goose chase to ultimately never find the First Class lounge. Then, upon landing, we were the last people to receive our bags on the whole plane (despite the bags being tagged as “priority”). I submitted a complaint about our flight back in November and still have not heard anything from Lufthansa. Long story short save your miles and just fly business class.
People have different tastes. I personally liked but wasn’t blown away by Emirates First Class. I much preferred the food on Lufthansa, and felt the service was more personal and sincere. First class of any kind is a privilege to fly though, only BA consistently disappoints
Will definitely hope to find space flying either of these to Hong Kong later in the year! Have always wanted to fly this particular aircraft (my only other A340 flight was the -300 variant on SWISS)
The downstairs lav in economy is cool too
Agreed, except when the line snakes up the stairs.
ben, you've forgotten to include MUC-IAD on LH414/415 which will be A340-600 w first class operated this summer =)
@ Sam -- Great catch, thanks! Updated the post to reflect that.
I just flew Miami to Munich, seat 1d.. food and crew amazing. However it was very hard to sleep since the cabin was so warm. We were also sitting last night in Miami for 5 hours on the plane at the terminal since we had to change two tires due to huge bolt in one of the tires. First class lounge at both Muc and Fra great experience.
“Second bath” made me chuckle but you might mean “second batch”…?