Lufthansa Technik expects to complete construction of a $71.26 million 161,000-sq-ft production facility at its Hamburg location in early 2009.
The turboprop derivative of the four-seat Grob 120 made its first flight on December 20 from Mindelheim-Mattsies (EDMN) Airport, Germany, where the company is also located. Although the flight lasted only about 20 minutes, another six hours were flown during January. Certification is now expected by the end of this year, according to Hans Doll, sales director. FAA approval would follow thereafter.
The scheduled airlines, after years of seeing business-class travelers lured away by business aviation operators, are fighting back.
Completions of corporate and VIP aircraft were worth $111 million in sales to Lufthansa Technik last year, an increase of 20 percent over the 2001 figure. “A big VIP aircraft completion represents between 100,000 and 200,000 working hours,” noted executive board chairman August Wilhelm Hennigsen. “Currently our capacity is fully utilized through most of the third quarter.” But the market is fierce.
Major structural changes announced by Swiss International Airlines in June include a considerable reduction of the company’s regional network with the start of its winter timetable, in late October. But while Swiss frantically clutches for a financial lifeline, there appears no shortage of newcomers willing to fill the airline’s shoes.
Shown to passengers on transatlantic TWA flights, the first full-length feature film to play on an airliner was 1961’s By Love Possessed, starring Lana Turner and Efrem Zimbalist Jr. Marking a milestone that history may well hold in equally high regard, Lufthansa on May 17 gave passengers on Flight LH452 from Munich to Los Angeles the opportunity to be the first in the world to surf the Internet on a revenue airline flight.
When China’s D’Long Group announced last year it would buy the Fairchild Dornier 728 development program from bankruptcy administrators, many questioned the little known company’s ability to attract the estimated $1 billion investment needed for certification and series production.
ERA named German operator Eurowings regional airline of the year at last month’s general assembly, 12 months after the German regional airline placed second in the competition. Eurowings attributes its success to its fleet mix and route network; an appropriate alliance policy with German flag carrier Lufthansa, which has an option to increase its 25-percent stake in the regional to 49 percent; and an attractive “customer product.”
The Lufthansa Technik-led Platinet support program for business aircraft operators is up and running. The German aircraft maintenance and completions firm has assembled an initial group of partners for the service and is now looking to expand the geographical scope of the support network.
Lufthansa will offer nonstop service in a Boeing Business Jet scheduled to operate six times weekly starting June 17 between Newark International and Dusseldorf Airports. The aircraft, provided through a wet-lease arrangement with Swiss charter firm PrivatAir, is fitted with 48 business-class seats and is painted in Lufthansa livery.