Lufthansa Confirms 737 MAX Order, AND Orders Airbus A220s!

By Spyros Georgilidakis | December 22, 2023

Lufthansa has placed an order for Boeing’s 737 MAX, its first 737s since 1995. But the airline group is also getting more Airbus A220-300s.

For a few weeks now, there were rumors that Lufthansa could purchase Boeing’s 737 MAX. The airline last flew the 737 in 2016, when it retired its last well-used 737-300. Lufthansa never ordered any 737NGs, so with this order, it effectively skips a 737 generation. Sort of.

Lufthansa Confirms 737 MAX Order, AND Orders Airbus A220s!
A Lufthansa 737-100. Photo: Lars Söderström, CC BY-SA 3.0

“Sort of” because as we saw previously, other airlines in the Lufthansa group did operate the 737, either directly or through wet-lease contracts. But for Lufthansa itself, the 737 is a big chapter in its history.

The airline was the launch customer for the very first 737-100 models and even had input on the type’s specifications. Those last 737-300s were delivered in 1995. Naturally, then, both Boeing and Lufthansa are hailing this 737 MAX order as a key step, with the airline emphasizing the aircraft’s efficiency.

A737-300. Compare its registration with that of the 737-100 further up..! Photo: Alf van Beem

How Will Lufthansa Use Its 737 MAX Fleet?

Lufthansa will get 40 737 MAX single aisles, all of which will be 737-8s. Lufthansa also has a further 60 purchasing options for the same type. Curiously, its release states that the planes will have “190 seats in Business and Economy Class”.

Like the 737-800, the 737-8 typically has an 189 exit limit in an all-economy configuration. That’s unless it is the high-density 737-8200 sub-variant. And that may be a clue about who will actually operate the 737 MAX fleet, in the Lufthansa Group.

Lufthansa Confirms 737 MAX Order, AND Orders Airbus A220s!
Image: Boeing

Somewhat unusually, Lufthansa and Boeing’s press releases on this order don’t include a picture of a 737-8 in Lufthansa colors. Given the historical “return to the 737” twist of the story, this seems a bit odd. But in its press release, Lufthansa offers a simple explanation:

As the planned growth path for both Lufthansa Airlines, including Lufthansa City Airlines, and SWISS is already underpinned by aircraft orders, the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft will be deployed in one of the Lufthansa Group’s other flight operations. The decision on this will be made at a later date.

TUIfly operated some 737-800s for Eurowings. Photo: BriYYZ, CC BY-SA 2.0

So unless there is a change in the group’s plans, we likely won’t see a 737 MAX in Lufthansa colors. Perhaps these 737s will join the Eurowings fleet. This carrier used 737-800s that it leased from Tui-Fly, whose crews actually flew them.

More Airbus A220s

On the contrary, we likely will finally see the Lufthansa livery on an Airbus A220. Lufthansa was this aircraft’s launch customer when the plane’s name was still the Bombardier CSeries.  Those jets went to SWISS, who continue to fly them today.

Lufthansa Confirms 737 MAX Order, AND Orders Airbus A220s!
Image: Airbus

Lufthansa is launching a new short-haul/regional subsidiary, that it will call Lufthansa City. It will likely replace its current Lufthansa CityLine, which flies CRJ-900s, Embraer E190s, as well as Airbus A320-family jets. But initially, at least, Lufthansa City and CityLine will operate alongside each other.

Eventually, Lufthansa’s upcoming A220s will likely replace many CityLine aircraft. The airline group’s new order includes 40 A220-300s, with options for 20 more. Lufthansa also announced options for 40 A320 family aircraft.

A SWISS Airbus A220. Photo: Quentin Krattiger

Of course, these changes in the Lufthansa Group could make it harder to guess where its 737 MAX narrowbodies will go. The airline will begin taking delivery of the Boeing narrowbodies in the second half of 2027. Its A220s will start arriving in 2026.


1 comment

  • “The airline will begin taking delivery of the Boeing narrowbodies in the second half of 2027.” So the customers of Lufthansa are safe till mid 2027 🙂

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