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What to Expect Inside Lufthansa’s First Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Boeing and the Lufthansa Group have celebrated the delivery of the first 787 Dreamliner, a 787-9, to Europe’s largest airline group at Paine Field, Everett, Wash.

Lufthansa’s new Boeing 787-9 aircraft departing Paine Field. Image: Boeing.

The Lufthansa Group has previously announced this Boeing 787-9 will be named “Berlin” and be delivered to the Lufthansa facility in Frankfurt for interiors completion. In its announcement of the Boeing 787-9 “Berlin” in June, Lufthansa promised travelers improved cabin facilities – including direct aisle access Business Class seats.

Lufthansa first announced a new business class coming in 2017, sharing renderings which now return a 404 page error on their website. I would hazard a bet that these plans have been scrapped.

Of course, a lot has happened in aviation since these bold plans were first announced, and the market conditions have changed.

So what should we expect as Lufthansa’s new 787 Dreamliner sets off for several weeks of cabin conversion at Lufthansa’s facilities in Frankfurt?

Lufthansa’s new A350 Business Class with all aisle-access seating. Image: Lufthansa.

The answer may be found in the airline’s new Munich A350, which was touted as the airline’s “first aircraft with upgraded Business Class.”

The “Munich” is the first aircraft in the Lufthansa fleet to offer its guests an improved Business Class. All seats have direct access to the aisle, can be easily and quickly converted into a two-meter-long bed and offer more storage space. In addition, travelers have significantly more space in the shoulder area.

The introduction of the improved Business Class marks the beginning of an extensive renewal of Lufthansa’s cabins. Next year, the airline will introduce a new top product in all travel classes, Economy, Premium Economy, Business and First Class, that is unparalleled in the market.

Lufthansa Group

“Next year” is 2023. Delivered at the end of August, the 787-9 cabin conversion could conceivably take until next year to complete. In its June announcement of the upcoming delivery, the airline stated:

The ultra-modern long-haul “Dreamliner” aircraft will consume an average of around 2.5 liters of kerosene per passenger and 100 kilometers flown. That is around 25 percent less than their predecessor aircraft. The CO2 emissions are also improved accordingly.

The Boeing 787-9 “Berlin” will have an improved cabin product – including direct aisle access for all guests in Business Class. Following several weeks of planned cabin refurbishments at Lufthansa’s maintenance in Frankfurt, the aircraft will be deployed initially on domestic German routes for training purposes.

Lufthansa Group

Again, at this point of the year, “several weeks” could technically put us into January, though one would think the airline would state “months” if that were the case.

Could the airline debut its revolutionary new 2023 cabins sooner on this Dreamliner?

After Emirates’ huge announcement of an ambitious and aggressive US$2 billion fleet refurbishment, Lufthansa may want to pull out all the stops.

After all, they have Lufthansa Technik set up to work refurbishment magic. The problem isn’t whether Lufthansa Technik could finish the project on their end. The question is whether they could deliver their new cabin products in time. This is where the current market conditions come back into play. Materials and labor shortages in the industry could mean there is no room to move the timeline.

It all depends on what Lufthansa has done behind the scenes to secure the new interiors they had planned to debut next year. If they placed orders and approved final versions of the products, and if their chosen suppliers can ramp up production, then Lufthansa could surprise us.

What we have seen on the A350 would be the safest guess for now. The Business Class product is already established and could fit on the 787-9.

In 2019, when announcing fleet plans, Lufthansa stated:

  • The 787-9 will have around 250-300 seats in various classes, depending on the later area of operation in the Lufthansa Group.

Note the lack of specifics for the 787-9, but these two aircraft could be configured similarly.

The Profitable Premium Economy

I’m particularly eager to see what Lufthansa does with Premium Economy on this new Dreamliner, especially in light of this cabin’s growing importance post-Covid-19.

Lufthansa previewed the airline’s planned new Premium Economy seats (as a rendering) during their 2019 Capital Markets Day. Interestingly, the airline acknowledged what Flight Chic readers already know—Premium Economy is perfect for airline profitability. However, at the time of the Lufthansa CMD in 2019, this new concept Premium Economy was not slated for the 787 Dreamliner or the A350.

In the current marketplace, I expect Premium Economy to grow in popularity. Emirates is banking on that too. I can’t imagine Lufthansa will want to miss out, so no matter their plans in 2019, there will likely be a Premium Economy on the Dreamliner, even if it’s not the one they initially pictured.

More on the Dreamliner.

The first intercontinental scheduled destination of the Lufthansa Dreamliner will be the Canadian metropolis of Toronto.

The Lufthansa Group has 32 firm orders for the 787 scheduled for delivery between 2022 and 2027. It joins nearly 50 Boeing customers worldwide flying this airplane. Boeing designed the 787 family with superior efficiency, which allows airlines to profitably open new routes and fly people directly where they want to go in exceptional comfort.

Using 25% less fuel and creating 25% fewer emissions than the airplanes they replace, the 787 family has avoided more than 125 billion pounds of carbon emissions since entering service in 2011.

“With the Boeing 787, we are introducing another modern aircraft type that is one of our fleet’s most fuel-efficient long-haul aircraft,” said Jens Ritter, CEO of Lufthansa Airlines. “This will allow us to significantly further improve the average CO2 balance. This aircraft is sustainable and offers customers a premium flying experience.”

Since revenue service began in 2011, the 787 family has launched more than 325 new nonstop routes worldwide, including approximately 50 routes opened since 2020. In a typical two-class configuration, the 787-9 can fly 296 passengers up to 7,565 nautical miles (14,010 km).

“Today’s delivery to the Lufthansa Group is a significant milestone for both companies as we resume European 787 deliveries and Lufthansa receives its first 787. I am delighted to see Lufthansa join a growing set of airlines worldwide operating the industry’s most capable twin-engine airplane,” said Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “With unmatched fuel efficiency and huge passenger appeal, the 787 will play an integral role in the Lufthansa Group’s long-haul network.”

In addition to 32 787 Dreamliners on order, the Lufthansa Group has firm orders for 20 777-9 passenger airplanes and recently placed a firm order for seven of the new 777-8 Freighter.

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