FRANKFURT, GERMANY — The German flag carrier Lufthansa plans to return three Airbus A380s to service from June 2023 and expects more to join its superjumbo fleet as demand for air travel soars.

This year, the airline's passenger earnings increased significantly. The Group generated an operating profit of 1.1 billion euros in the third quarter. The German Group raised its full-year outlook. It foresees an operating profit of more than one billion euros and an adjusted free cash flow of over two billion euros for 2022.

The number of passengers increased significantly in the third quarter compared with the previous year. Between July and September, more than 33 million passengers flew with the airlines of the Lufthansa Group (previous year: 20 million).

"That's just the beginning," said Lufthansa Group chief executive Carsten Spohr during a third-quarter earnings briefing on 27 October.

"We'll need to bring that number up [based on] the demand [trend], and for operational reasons, three is not enough… so we are currently working on a detailed plan for that."

Lufthansa Group predicts air travel demand to continue to increase throughout 2023 despite global economic recession risk and geopolitical conflicts.

Spohr says new aircraft delivery delays from Airbus and Boeing are another catalyst for A380's return to service.

Lufthansa had stored its 14 superjumbos in early 2020 due to border closures during the pandemic. The airline sold six of them during this period, but the remaining A380s are still under Lufthansa's ownership.

Lufthansa is among the customers for Boeing's delayed 777-9 new generation widebody jet. The airline expects to add dozens of new widebody models to its fleet in the coming years, including 787s and A350s.