Bloomberg News

Lufthansa CFO Misses China Trip as Malfunction Grounds New 747

February 24, 2014

Deutsche Lufthansa AG (LHA) Chief Financial Officer Simone Menne scrapped a visit to Beijing after one of the carrier’s new Boeing Co. 747-8 jumbos was grounded with an engine glitch, messing up her schedule.

Departure of flight LH720 from Frankfurt on Feb. 22 was held up after one of the jet’s four turbines developed technical problems, Lufthansa spokesman Florian Graenzdoerffer said today.

With the service due to have taken off at 5 p.m. and only a narrow window to complete a repair ahead of the German city’s ban on night-time operations, the flight was scratched and rescheduled for 1.26 p.m. yesterday. For Menne, the delay made it impossible to attend a Cologne Guerzenich symphony orchestra performance in the Chinese capital, and the trip, which had also been due to include several media engagements, was canned.

The 747-8 is world’s second-biggest airliner after the Airbus Group NV (AIR) A380. The U.S. jet, powered by four General Electric (GE:US) Co. GEnx turbofan engines, has been in service since 2012 with Lufthansa, which remains the only airline to operate the passenger variant, known as the Intercontinental.

Frankfurt airport operates under a curfew barring aircraft movements between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., with exemptions granted only in medical emergencies or if planes are delayed due to severe weather. So far this year only six flights have been granted that dispensation, all for medical reasons.

Lufthansa, which uses Frankfurt as its main hub, has brought forward evening flights and shifted some to Munich to mitigate the impact of the ban, in effect since October 2011. The carrier operates Boeing (BA:US)’s largest jet with 362 seats, including eight in first class and 92 in business.

The Beijing service was delayed due to a malfunction of the deicing system on one of the engines, Graenzdoerffer said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Richard Weiss in Frankfurt at rweiss5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net


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