Two Boeing 737-8s (also known by their former name “737 Max 8”) will soon be added to Luxair's fleet. Delivery is scheduled for the summer of 2026. The board of directors of the airline approved the order for these two new aircraft on Friday 3 March. While waiting for them to arrive, the company will lease two others of the same model from the American manufacturer. This will be done via a leasing contract that it will operate with its own flight crew, running from July 2023 to 2027.
Between 2026 and 2027, Luxair will therefore have not two, but four more aircraft. What happens next? The two partners are “currently negotiating the purchase of two additional aircraft of the same type for delivery in 2027, when the leasing contract expires.”
From 21 to 23 aircraft in total by this summer
All this represents an “essential part of the investments for the future of Luxair.” However, the amount remains confidential. Gilles Feith, CEO, described the operation as “a major step towards securing its position as a quality airline in Luxembourg and the greater region.”
The Journal de l'Aviation reports that the list price for the 737 Max 8 in early 2023 is €118.9m ($126m). In practice, manufacturers sometimes grant discounts of around 20%. Statista reports an average cost of €114.8m ($121.6m) in March 2022 for a 737 Max-8. This would mean a bill for the two aircraft of between €190m and €230m.
As a reminder, Luxair already owns 11 De Havilland Q-400s, four Boeing 737-700s and four Boeing 737-800s (the previous generation), in addition to two German Airways Embraer aircraft, which are on lease until November 2023. “This will still be the case for this year,” said Feith, despite the arrival of the two Boeings. “The following years, we will have to see,” depending on the needs. The fleet should therefore increase from 21 to 23 aircraft from next summer.
Towards new far-flung destinations
This order sweeps aside the hypothesis of buying A320s from Airbus. “It’s a great plane, but the manufacturer was not able to deliver on time,” the CEO explained.
The Boeing 737-8s have a maximum of 186 seats, which are more comfortable and spacious than the lower models. With a capacity of 3,100 nautical miles (5,740 km), they will be used for longer flights such as “those currently operated to Dubai, Cape Verde and Senegal, but also on the rest of the Luxair network.” And “in the near future, they will enable us to extend the network of destinations for ever more distant trips,” said the airline. Where, for example? “We are currently looking into this.” In any case, the frequency of flights could be increased for the far-flung destinations already served.
The new Boeings are also expected to reduce fuel consumption andCO2 emissions by about 20% compared to previous generations, Luxair added.
This story was first published in French on Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.