Lufthansa Technik (LHT) will establish a completions center in Asia, “sooner rather than later,” the company told an ABACE show press conference yesterday. “In the medium term the Chinese market is very interesting,” said Walter Heerdt, the company’s senior marketing and sales vice president. “We have to be here, otherwise we will not get the best share we can out of this market.”
Although Heerdt remained tight-lipped as to where its new Asian facility will be located, LHT already has three joint ventures in southeast Asia, including two in China. For now, these facilities provide maintenance, repair and overhaul services for airliners.
LHT (Booth H220) has delivered three VIP-configured aircraft to Chinese customers in the last two years and has a further four aircraft on its books to go to China. To date the German company has completed 60 narrowbody and 30 widebody aircraft across its entire network.
The company is contracted to complete its first 747-8 aircraft. “There is a peak on widebodies entering the market now,” said Heerdt. “The first VIP 747-8 was expected in September 2010, but will actually be delivered for completion in September 2012. We now have a compressed delivery schedule from Boeing, where we will get a high number of widebody VIP aircraft within a short period of time. However, this peak will stabilize at a high level.”
The company also announced that its U.S. subsidiary Bizjet International has just earned Boeing completion center status to become an official member of the airframer’s network. Bizjet has invested $6 million in expanding the 32,515-sq-m (350,000-sq-ft) facility in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which works on both green installations and refurbishment of second-hand aircraft.
LHT’s SixStars International design service will be available as an option at Bizjet. The company’s innovative interior design division is responsible for the LHT’s NICE cabin management product, as well as the recently unveiled “quick-change” kit that converts an airliner to a VIP jet in a matter of hours.