While the sales of narrow- and wide-body VIP aircraft may not be enjoying the numbers the industry has seen in recent years, Lufthansa Technik (Booth No. 2621) is still finding plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the future of this business segment.
Lufthansa Technik’s chairman of the board, August Wilhelm Henningsen, said while there are more pre-owned narrow- and widebody business jets for sale today than last year, those increased numbers present an opportunity for the company’s maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) and completions businesses.
“While many customers want the newest and greatest, the low number of flight hours on these aircraft make them a relatively good bargain for someone entering the market,” Henningsen said. “That is a great opportunity for our refurbishment business.”
In fact, Henningsen said that Lufthansa Technik’s five-year projections of the value of its VIP aircraft modifications and maintenance businesses are, respectively, $2 billion and $1 billion.
Obviously, a good percentage of the modification spending will come from operators of the new generation of VIP and VVIP aircraft like the Boeing 787 and 747-800 and Airbus A350 and A380. While he did acknowledge that there has been considerable slippage of the originally forecasted entry dates for the 787 and A380 in particular, Henningsen reaffirmed the company’s commitment to these aircraft.
“The entry into service of these new aircraft is an added challenge and opportunity for us,” he said. “It challenges our engineering staff, but with airlines canceling orders it opens earlier delivery slots for VIP customers.”
Lufthansa Technik also announced that its U.S. subsidiary, Bizjet International, based in Tulsa, Okla., is scheduled to finish the completion of its first A318 Elite later this year. “We will be doing all our upcoming A318 Elite completions as well as BBJ completions and updates at Bizjet International facilities in Tulsa,” Henningsen said. “We see a strong opportunity for larger business aircraft at this facility.”