Lufthansa Technik juggling success

 - May 20, 2008, 4:39 AM

Lufthansa Technik is juggling a schedule that has interior completion and refurbishment projects rolling in and out of its Hamburg facilities with a frequency that threatens to wear out the hangar doors.

Addressing the media Monday at EBACE, senior v-p of marketing and sales Walter Heerdt said Lufthansa Technik (Booth No. 447) is already working at capacity, even as it makes plans to add a fourth line for narrowbody completion and refurbishment by 2010–providing two lines each for the Airbus A319 and A318–as well as a second completion line for widebody airplanes.

At this point, Heerdt said the company is also gearing up for a new crop of widebody aircraft that will be going into service over the next half-decade, and whose owners are already looking for executive/VIP completion slots. These airplanes include the Airbus A380 and A350-XWB and Boeing’s 787 and 747-8.

In fact, Lufthansa Technik recently signed new letters of commitment for a Boeing 787 and a 747-8. According to the company, “Negotiations are also underway with a number of other prospective customers concerning possible completions by 2018 and beyond.”

Adding to the list, Lufthansa Technik recently signed to outfit two Airbus A330s and two Airbus A340s for the German government, all of which are to be delivered between 2010 and 2018. In addition, the center has committed to provide the cabin interiors for two Airbus A330s for different governments.

On the narrowbody side the house, eight A318 Elites, three A319 ACJs and three BBJs for private and governments are to be outfitted in Hamburg by 2012.
It has been a year since Lufthansa delivered the first A318 Elite, an executive/VIP aircraft that went to Swiss charter operator Comlux Aviation. Since then the company has delivered two more Elites and has another two in the completion process. The total number of Elite contracts now stands at 11.

Heerdt said the center has delivered 14 aircraft since April 2007, all of them on time, and currently holds 27 completion and refurbishment contracts, including nine for widebody aircraft.

Lufthansa Technik expects the current high demand for narrow- and widebody executive/VIP jets to continue. “Our narrowbody completion lines already operate at a very high load until 2012,” he said, adding, “We are optimistic that this situation will also continue beyond that date.”

This situation has Lufthansa Technik considering opening a narrowbody completion and refurbishment line in the U.S. at its BizJet International facility in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The biggest challenge for Lufthansa Technik, Heerdt said, is juggling demand and capacity to meet scheduled delivery dates.