Lufthansa confirmed an order today for twenty Boeing 747-8 aircraft with options for twenty more, being the first airline to announce an order for the type. The list price of the planes is $5.5 billion, but with discounts that Lufthansa most likely got the price comes down to about $3.2 billion or less.
The new 747-8 features the same engines as the 787 and is cleaner and quieter. It also has a 787-style cabin and has a newer, more efficient wing. But the environmental aspect of the 747-8 is especially important, since the EU has gone after airlines hard in the past few months over CO2 emissions.
Lufthansa also ordered seven more A340-600s, at a time when hardly any airlines have any A340 orders outstanding. Most major airlines have opted for the two-engine model - like the 777, 787, A330 or A350, but Lufthansa seems to have faith in four engines. It is the only major airline that doesn't operate 777s, but with these 747s becoming more efficient, perhaps the gap between four-engine planes and two-engine planes is narrowing.