The delivery to Lufthansa of its first Airbus A300B2 on February 9, 1976 laid the foundation for a strong partnership within European civil aviation that has now extended almost 50 years. With more than ten different Airbus aircraft types supplied since then to almost every air operator in the Lufthansa Group, today saw the 600th such aircraft – an Airbus A321neo – handed over to Lufthansa in a formal ceremony at Airbus’s Hamburg-Finkenwerder site.
Carsten Spohr, Chairman of the Lufthansa Group Executive Board:
“Lufthansa and Airbus are united by a very special partnership. Ever since Airbus’s creation, we have enjoyed close and trusting collaborations on a wide range of research projects and new developments. Lufthansa has also served no fewer than four times as Airbus’s launching customer for a new aircraft type, most recently for the A320neo family that is proving such a success. Lufthansa has ordered every family of aircraft that Airbus has developed over the past five decades. And more than 90 per cent of the 600 Airbuses that we have taken delivery of during that time are still in Lufthansa Group service today. We also wish to welcome our 700th Airbus to our fleet as part of Lufthansa’s centennial celebrations in 2026.”
Guillaume Faury, Airbus CEO:
“Lufthansa and Airbus have been partners ever since we delivered the first Lufthansa A300 back in February 1976. Since then, Lufthansa has taken delivery of an Airbus aircraft an average of every month – 600 of them in almost 50 years! No other airline group has received more of our aircraft to date. My particular thanks, on behalf of everyone at Airbus, go to all the teams at Lufthansa for all their confidence and trust. We look forward to the next 50 years of our partnership and our shared commitment to the goal of sustainable air travel.”
The story to date
Lufthansa signed its first purchase agreement with Airbus for three A300B2s in 1975 and received its first such aircraft from Europe’s new manufacturer seven months later on February 9, 1976. Subsequent years saw the first deliveries of further Airbus types: the A310 in 1983, followed by the A300-600 in 1987. The first Airbus A320 to join the Lufthansa fleet was delivered in October 1989. Over 370 aircraft of the A320 family are in service today with the various airlines of the Lufthansa Group. The first A340 followed in 1993; and just one year later the Lufthansa Airbus fleet passed the 100-aircraft mark. The A330 followed in 2004; and in 2010 the A380 – the world’s largest passenger aircraft – joined the Lufthansa long-haul fleet.
Lufthansa has also served as launching customer for a new Airbus type on four occasions to date: for the A310, the A340, the A220 and – in 2016 –A320neo. Not only the Airbus A320 family is a cornerstone of today’s Lufthansa fleet: the A350-900, which first arrived in 2016, has also become a key component in the Lufthansa long-haul fleet, and the Lufthansa Group is the world’s third-biggest A350 customer.
600th Airbus named ‘Münster’
The 600th Airbus aircraft to be delivered to Lufthansa, which bears the registration D-AIEQ, is an Airbus A321neo. Seating 215 passengers, the A321neo is a state-of-the-art and fuel-efficient short- and medium-haul twinjet that has been in Lufthansa service since 2019. D-AIEQ has been named ‘Münster’ after the German city.
Partners in sustainability, too
Lufthansa and Airbus attach particular importance to their collaborations on the sustainability and the research & development fronts. Over the last three decades, the Lufthansa Group has equipped several of its long-haul Airbus aircraft with instruments to conduct climate and weather research. In addition to three such Airbus jets that are presently gathering climate-related data for scientific purposes, Lufthansa is also working with the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology on a world-first project to convert a Lufthansa Airbus A350-900 into a research aircraft.
Lufthansa performed its longest non-stop flight to date in 2021 when it flew one of its Airbus A350-900s from Hamburg to Mount Pleasant on the Falkland Islands on behalf of the Alfred Wegener Institute. The same year also saw a Lufthansa A350-900 converted into a climate research aircraft for the CARIBIC Project.
Back in 2011 Lufthansa was the first airline to trial biofuel in its daily flight operations. For some six months, a Lufthansa Airbus A321 was operated on the Hamburg-Frankfurt route with one of its two engines powered with a fuel blend consisting 50% of biosynthetic kerosene. In the same year Lufthansa teamed up with the Forschungszentrum Jülich to conduct a new type of long-term climate research study using scheduled air services to monitor the Earth’s atmosphere. As part of this IAGOS research project, specially developed instruments were installed aboard a Lufthansa Airbus A340-300 to collect trace elements from the atmosphere in the course of the aircraft’s regular flight operations.