Returning To Service? Another Lufthansa A340-600 Leaves Storage For Malta

On June 17th, a Lufthansa A340-600 departed long-term storage. The flight from Teruel to Malta was the aircraft’s first flight since going in storage in May of 2020. So what’s the aircraft doing now? And why was it ferried to Malta? Let’s take a look.

Flight and aircraft details

The Lufthansa Airbus A340-600 departed Teruel (TEV) for Malta (MLA) on June 17th as flight LH9855. This flight departed at 12:49 and touched down in Luqa at 14:52 local time for a total flight duration of just over two hours.

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The aircraft, registered D-AIHP, is 15 years old, having joined Lufthansa brand new from Airbus in 2006. Over its decade and a half in Lufthansa livery, the jet spent about a year-and-a-half in storage in Teruel from October 2017 to May 2019. After spending some time in maintenance from May to July 2019, the jet was returned to service. Unfortunately, the pandemic would limit the aircraft’s commercial service time, sending it back to storage in March 2020.

D-AIHP flew out of storage on June 17th. Photo: FlightRadar24.com

With travel restrictions everywhere and uncertainty over the duration of the crisis, Lufthansa initially stored the jet at its Frankfurt hub. From March to May 2020, the jet stayed here on the ground before getting ferried to long-term storage in Teruel on May 20th, 2020. Now, with just over two years having passed, is the returning jet to service again?


Why Malta?

In many cases, a return to service from storage would see an aircraft being shuttled back to its home base and an airline’s main hub airport. After all, this was the case for Lufthansa’s A340-600 registered D-AIHU. Indeed, FlightRadar24.com data shows that the aircraft flew directly from Teruel to Frankfurt in March of this year, after spending nearly two years in storage.

However, it’s a different storage for most other re-activated Lufthansa A340-600 aircraft. This includes aircraft like D-AIHI, D-AIHT, D-AIHV, and of course, D-AIHP. But what’s in Malta that makes it a ‘customary’ stop in the journey to re-activation?

Lufthansa is one of a few operators left flying the Airbus A340-600. Photo: Lufthansa

Well, Malta is the home of Lufthansa Technik Malta. As the firm’s website states, it’s a joint venture with Air Malta (8%), which “provides line and base maintenance services for short-haul and long-haul aircraft in the Airbus A320, A330/340 and Boeing 737 series.” Lufthansa Technik Malta’s website goes on to explain its A340-600 activities by saying:

“The range of heavy airframe maintenance includes extensive D1-checks (A340-600) and D2-checks (A340-300) as well as body C-checks of high complexity. Today, the Airbus overhaul specialist in the Mediterranean operates narrow lines in parallel, with capacity for a seventh line available on demand.”

Not quite re-activated yet

Although Lufthansa Technik Malta’s website satisfyingly answers our question as to why Lufthansa A340-600s fly to Malta when leaving storage, we shouldn’t be too excited about a swift return to service.

Indeed, if we look at the flight histories of other A340-600s, we can see that they typically spent one to two months in Malta before coming back to regular commercial passenger operations. Thus, it’s unlikely that any of us will be flying on D-AIHP anytime this summer.

Did you know about Lufthansa Technik Malta? And are your excited to see another A340-600 return to service? Let us know by leaving a comment.

Sources: Planespotters.net, FlightRadar24.com

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