Assuming this information is true, a few questions are still unanswered.
- To me, the main sentence in the Bloomberg story is "The twin-engine jets will be Boeing’s new 777-9X, which is due to fly by decade’s end, and Airbus’s A350-900, said two of the people, who asked not to be identified ..."
Does this sentence mean that another part of the deal is about quads? If so, does the four-engine part consist of more purchases (A380s ?), trade-ins (A340s ?), cancellations or even buy-backs (B748s ?), or a mix thereof ?
- More specifically, has Boeing sacrificed some (or all) firm 748 orders to get the 777-8 into LH's fleet ? If not, this is a great victory for Boeing, leading to a surprising LH fleet structure (A380s+B748+B779).
- Why did the A359 prevail over the B7810 in this first direct contest ? A desire to split the order ? A reluctance to order the 787 for the moment ? Insufficient payload/range ?
Of course, the main question is : is it a done deal ? Did the fat lady sing ?
- I always thought the 777-9X was pretty much a given considering LH's comments on its role as a 747 replacement. Could it be that they intend to replace the -8is sooner with the 777-9X and cut a deal with Boeing to convert the -8is to cargo jets? LH's fleet of MD11Fs will be quite old about that time too.
- It is likely that the pending A380 agreement will be firmed up. (Hopefully a bit more than two! )
- As to why LH chose the A359 over the 7810... Keep in mind that LH has a huge pool of Airbus WB pilots, so less training costs and keeps them happy in terms of pay (no need to relegate them to the narrowbodies). If it's true that LH was not interested in "excessive range", maybe the order is for the lower MTOW variant. I think what's nice about this is the flexibility to upgrade to the standard longer range variant if LH needs it. Maybe they can choose to operate a sub-fleet of long-range A359s too. Apparently the 7810 is not that much lighter than the A359 in any case.