Lufthansa will base two additional Airbus A380s at its Munich hub from 2020.

The move will boost the Munich-based A380 fleet to seven aircraft and will evenly split the total fleet between Munich and Frankfurt, the airline’s main hub. In Munich, the two additional aircraft are to be operated on daily roundtrips to San Francisco and Boston, the airline said July 9.

Lufthansa currently flies the aircraft from Munich to Los Angeles, Beijing and Hong Kong. From November the aircraft will serve Miami, San Francisco, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Until 2017, all 14 A380s were based in Frankfurt, but for a variety of reasons—capacity constraints in Frankfurt, the airline’s long-standing dispute with the airport operator over fees and growth in Munch—Lufthansa decided to base an initial five A380s in Munich two years ago. The experiment has worked out, CEO Carsten Spohr said recently. Even more aircraft could follow, as the airline said seven aircraft would remain in Frankfurt “initially.”

However, Lufthansa is looking at reducing its A380 fleet significantly. As part of its order for 20 more A350-900s placed earlier this year, the airline agreed to return six A380s to Airbus in 2022 and 2023. It has not decided from which hub the aircraft will be pulled. Industry sources say the airline is already considering when and how it will retire the remaining aircraft, as such a small fleet would be uneconomical to operate.

Lufthansa’s growing fleet of A350s is also based in Munich. By contrast, the Boeing 777X will be allocated to Frankfurt to replace A340s and 747-400s.

Jens Flottau, jens.flottau@aviationweek.com