FRANKFURT Deutsche Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) announced its largest ever order for 59 Airbus and Boeing wide-body jets in a deal worth 14 billion euros at list prices that will see it launch a new version of Boeing's 777 jet.
The deal expands a sweeping fleet renewal by Europe's largest airline by revenues after Lufthansa confirmed an order for 100 Airbus short-haul planes in March.
Lufthansa said the order for 34 Boeing 777-9X and 25 Airbus A350-900 jets, which the supervisory board had approved on Wednesday, would help it cut fuel consumption and shrink unit costs by about 20 percent compared with old aircraft models.
Lufthansa, in the middle of a deep revamp that includes 3,500 job cuts, is investing in modern jets to cut its fuel bill and catch up with Middle East rivals particularly in the hotly contested stretch between Europe and Asia.
The new aircraft would mainly replace the existing aircraft at Lufthansa, with the older Boeing 747-400s and Airbus A340-300s to be phased out by 2025.
Lufthansa did not give a breakdown of how many of the planes would be firm orders and how many would be options. It said the first of the new planes would be delivered as early as 2016.
People familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday Lufthansa would order up to 34 Boeing 777-9X, marking the first order for a planned revamp of its successful mini-jumbo, but that 14 of these could be options needing to be reconfirmed.
The investment amount for the Lufthansa group's latest order is the largest single private-sector investment in the history of Germany industry, according to Lufthansa, adding it would safeguard about 13,000 jobs at Lufthansa alone.
Outgoing Chief Executive Christoph Franz was due to hold a news conference at 11 a.m. local time (0900 GMT) on Thursday in his first public appearance since he announced he was quitting to be chairman of Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG ROG.VX.
(Reporting by Marilyn Gerlach; Editing by Peter Dinkloh, Tim Hepher)