There’s an update regarding the launch of Lufthansa’s highly anticipated new business class product, which was initially announced in 2017. It sounds like we can now expect the first plane with the new product as of the summer of 2023.
New Lufthansa business class was supposed to debut on 777-9
In November 2017 (yes, well over four years ago), Lufthansa revealed a brand new business class product. This looked like a massive improvement over Lufthansa’s current business class, as the new cabin features direct aisle access from every seat, and significantly more privacy.
There was only one slight problem… the new business class was supposed to debut on the Boeing 777-9, which at the time Lufthansa was supposed to start taking delivery of in 2020. In other words, the product was still years from becoming a reality.
Unfortunately in the meantime the Boeing 777-9 has been delayed by several years, and the first plane is now scheduled to be delivered in 2025 at the earliest, and that’s perhaps an optimistic timeline, given Boeing’s general problems.
In other words, if Lufthansa stuck to launching this new product on the Boeing 777-9, it would be a minimum of eight years from when Lufthansa announced its new business class seat, to when the first passenger would actually experience it.
Of course I can’t bring this up without pointing out that Skytrax declared Lufthansa a 5-star airline in 2017, just weeks after it announced its new business class. Skytrax said a “key factor” in the award was Lufthansa’s announcement of a new business class. And we wonder why Skytrax has no credibility…
New Lufthansa business class now launching 2023
Per Lufthansa’s shareholders meeting today, there’s now an updated timeline regarding when we could see the first Lufthansa aircraft with new business class seats. Lufthansa’s current plan is to install the new business class product on some newly delivered Airbus A350s and Boeing 787s:
- Lufthansa’s new business class is expected to launch as of the summer of 2023 on some newly Airbus A350s and Boeing 787s
- Planes delivered in 2022 and early 2023 are expected to feature an interim product; this is in part because Lufthansa has picked up both Airbus A350s and Boeing 787s that were intended for other airlines, and Lufthansa is maintaining those cabin interiors
- Lufthansa plans to eventually reconfigure existing Airbus A350s and Boeing 747-8s with the new business class, though it’s anyone’s guess with what timeline that occurs (and for that matter, I have no clue how this would work on the upper deck of the 747-8… maybe premium economy would be moved up there?)
For context, Lufthansa Group has gone on quite the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 shopping spree in the past few years:
- In March 2019, Lufthansa Group placed an order for 20 Airbus A350-900s and 20 Boeing 787-9s; these planes are to be delivered between 2022 and 2027, and complemented the 25 Airbus A350-900s that the airline had already ordered
- In May 2021, Lufthansa Group placed an order for an additional five Airbus A350-900s and an additional five Boeing 787-9s; the additional five A350s are to be delivered in 2027 and 2028, while the additional five 787s are to be delivered in 2022
- In December 2021, Lufthansa Group decided to opportunistically pick up four former Philippine Airlines Airbus A350-900s, as the airline was in bankruptcy, and these planes will join the fleet in 2022
- In May 2022, Lufthansa Group decided to order a further seven Boeing 787-9s, in light of Boeing 777-9 delays; these will be delivered in 2025 and 2026
Lufthansa’s first plane with direct aisle access from every business class seat recently entered service. Specifically, Lufthansa has picked up former Philippine Airlines A350s, and these planes have a staggered configuration. This represents a huge improvement over Lufthansa’s previous product. However, this is only an interim product that will be found on a few A350s.
What I find strange, however, is that even factory fresh A350s delivered to Lufthansa in 2022 won’t feature new business class seats. One almost has to wonder if Lufthansa even has the intention of introducing this product, or why these planes wouldn’t feature the new cabins.
Lufthansa now plans to launch its new business class product as of the summer of 2023, on some newly delivered Airbus A350s and Boeing 787s. The Boeing 777-9 is now delayed until at least 2025, so there won’t be any of those jets flying anytime soon.
In the meantime, Lufthansa is taking delivery of some planes that will feature an interim business class product, as these are largely planes that were intended for other airlines. At least we’re potentially within a year or so of Lufthansa’s new business class launching… maybe.
What do you make of Lufthansa’s new business class timeline?