FRANKFURT, GERMANY — Lufthansa, the largest airline in Europe, is bringing back five more parked Airbus A340 quadjet aircraft to service in order to address a shortage of premium seats on high-demand international routes.

The airline plans to take five older Airbus A340 jets out of storage and put them back into service this summer to offer more first-class seats to its customers as demand for air travel continues to surge after the COVID-19 pandemic.

This move will allow Lufthansa to continue being the largest operator of the A340 and the only major airline still using the aircraft. Aside from Lufthansa and its subsidiary SWISS, which operates four A340s, the only other operators of the plane are small carriers like Iran's Mahan Air and Qatar Amiri Flight.

The airline has decided to return the A340s to service, similar to its decision to bring back some of its A380 superjumbo planes last summer. This marks a change in strategy for these high-fuel-consuming aircraft, which were intended to be retired permanently during the peak of the pandemic. The revival of the A340s and the A380s is a significant shift from previous plans.

Stored Lufthansa A340s in Tucson Arizona

The Airbus A340 is a long-haul, wide-body passenger aircraft produced by the European aircraft manufacturer to compete with the Boeing 747 and was the first Airbus aircraft to feature four engines. The aircraft was ultimately overshadowed by the more fuel-efficient A330 and A350 models. Airbus delivered only 377 A340s before ending production.

According to the German aviation news portal Frankfurtflyer, Lufthansa plans to deploy the A340-600s at its Frankfurt hub this time. The five Airbus A340s that were brought back into service last year were based at Munich International Airport. They are expected to fly to destinations such as New York, Hong Kong, and Bogota.

Lufthansa's A340s have a seating capacity of 297, including eight first-class seats, 44 business-class seats, and 32 premium economy seats. The German flag carrier currently operates 17 A340-300s and 9 A340-600s.