Four-engined widebody aircraft: on a flight path to nowhere

Premium Analysis

Lufthansa is reportedly considering retiring its remaining A380s and Boeing 747-400s, and most of its A340s. It had already planned to retire six A380s and to base the remaining eight at Munich, rather than at its biggest hub, Frankfurt.

Currently, all of Lufthansa's 14 A380s and its 11 747-400s, together with eight of its 19 747-8s and 28 of its 37 A340 variants, are grounded, according to the CAPA Fleet Database.

Lufthansa's pondering reflects questions being asked in airline boardrooms globally about the future of four-engined widebodies. At the depths of the COVID-19 crisis, the number of four-engined numbers widebodies in service worldwide was down by 55% versus 1-Jan-2020 (compared with -48% for all widebodies), and at 15-Sep-2020 is still down by 48% (-32% for all widebodies).

These figures mask a sharp divide between the two manufacturers: 64% of Boeing four-engined widebodies are now in service (boosted by freighter variants), versus just 17% for Airbus.

It is often said that crises only accelerate trends that were happening anyway. The current pandemic may well accelerate the consignment of four-engined widebodies to the history books.

Become a CAPA Member to access Analysis Reports

This CAPA Premium Analysis Report is 1,420 words.
Become a CAPA Member

Our Analysis Reports are only available to CAPA Members. CAPA Membership provides exclusive access to in-depth insights on the latest developments in the aviation and travel industry, developed by our team of dedicated analysts located in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia.

Each report offers a fresh perspective on the latest industry trends and is available online or via the CAPA mobile app, with customisable alerts to help you stay informed and identify new business opportunities.

CAPA Membership also provides access to our full suite of tools, including a tailored selection of more than 1,000 News Briefs every week and comprehensive data and analysis on thousands of companies around the world.