May 26, 2024


A Lufthansa-operated Boeing 747

A Lufthansa-operated Boeing 747
Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach (Reuters)

Another day, another airline CEO publicly grumbling about how long they’re having to wait on unfulfilled orders from Boeing. This time, it’s Carsten Spohr of Lufthansa. In an interview with the Swiss newspaper Neue Zuercher Zeitung, he expressed some tight-lipped annoyance at the planemaker.

“This is extremely annoying and costs us a lot, a lot of money,” he said according to a version of the story translated by Google, without specifying how much money.

Many airline executives have been expressing their discontent with wait times to get their Boeing planes. Some of them, like United Airlines, have begun leasing aircraft from Boeing’s arch-competitor Airbus. Of Lufthansa’s 721 planes, according to its most recent annual report, 70 were manufactured by Boeing. Though the overwhelming majority of its fleet are from Boeing’s chief global competitor Airbus, Spohr insisted on the need for competition. “The industry needs two strong providers,” he said. “Everyone has an interest in Boeing being able to build great aircraft more reliably again soon.”

Since a door plug blew off an Alaska Airlines-operated 737 Max 9 plane in January, Boeing has slowed down its production speed as regulators and law enforcement investigate what went wrong. The additional eyes on the factories and boots on the ground have exacerbated what was already a struggle for Boeing to clear its order backlog. Still, Spohr expressed confidence in Boeing to surmount its current difficulties: “I am sure that Boeing will get the problems under control.”

According to Boeing’s own tally of orders, Lufthansa is waiting on 102 planes from the manufacturer. Forty of them are the troubled 737 Max planes that have been grabbing headlines since the Alaska Airlines incident. Thirty-four of them are the 787 Dreamliner models that have come under increasing scrutiny in the wake of whistleblower criticisms of their build quality and a regulator investigation of admittedly falsified inspection reports.



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