EBACE Convention News

Lufthansa Technik expands with Abu Dhabi FBO

 - November 30, 2006, 8:05 AM

Lufthansa Technik (Booth No. 744) is continuing to expand both the geographical reach and the range of its support services for VIP and corporate customers. It plans a new joint venture in Abu Dhabi, a growing customer list for its Platinet service and a new service, Integrated Maintenance Support (IMS), designed to relieve operators of regulatory paperwork headaches.

Rüdiger Hornig, LHT’s vice president of VIP and government jet maintenance, told EBACE Convention News the company is keen to bolster its global support provision by enhancing its local presence. It already has a U.S. hub in the form of its Tulsa, Oklahoma-based subsidiary BizJet International, and at the Dubai airshow last November the firm revealed its plans for a joint venture with Amiri Flight Abu Dhabi.
The joint venture is to encompass an FBO, with associated line maintenance and ground handling, as well as an interior refurbishment and rework facility.

The location was chosen for the scope it offers for expansion. “Our business development is in line with the local strategies to develop the business there,” Hornig observed. “Abu Dhabi airport is on a strong development path in terms of runway capacity and terminal capacity, but it is also focusing on the VIP aspects.”

The choice of partner was equally significant, Hornig said. “Amiri Flight Abu Dhabi is an important partner in terms of reputation and the expectations of services we are going to offer there.” It also co-owns Royal Jet, which operates a fleet of Boeing Business Jets, Gulfstreams and Bombardier aircraft and will naturally be a customer of the new support operation.

“With these core fleets we are automatically covering the range from the Gulfstreams up to the 747-400s,” Hornig said. “With its interior capabilities, the service we are going to provide will be unique because other competitors in the region focus on FBO services and line maintenance. The product capability we are going to add is in big demand there. It will be locally provided and there will be no need for customers to leave the region for interior services.”

Platinet Adds Customers

LHT has increased the size of its Platinet portfolio by close to 50 percent during the last 12 months, and now covers 76 aircraft belonging to 34 customers, nearly half of them based in the Middle East. European owners are the next most numerous group, while the Americas account for another 10 customers with a total of 16 aircraft.

The Platinet proposition is a compelling one: whether or not you are already a Lufthansa Technik customer, you can call a single toll-free number from anywhere in the world and whatever you need will be on its way–within three hours, in the case of an AOG situation. Hornig expects to have 100 customers by this time next year.

The range of aircraft types supported also extends beyond LHT’s core fleet of Boeing, Airbus and Bombardier models to include Learjets, while one customer has a mix of Cessna Citation jets. Hornig wants the support services to be global in terms of requirements as well as geographically.

“We want to support customers in terms of maintenance and FBO and flight operations support, but another major issue is the support necessary to keep their aircraft legal,” Hornig said. “We want to relieve operators of the regulatory burden involved, so we are offering what we call integrated maintenance services, not just on the hardware side but also on the documentation and maintenance system sides.”

Web-based IMS Tracks Performance

Being Web-based and accessible around the clock in real time from anywhere in the world, IMS provides real-time access to “a customized and individualized database for the complete history, documentation, track and trace, and configuration control of the aircraft. Whatever you need to keep that aircraft legal,” Hornig elaborated. “So the customer can access the actual status of the aircraft any time, anywhere he wants.”

In addition to documentation, IMS can provide reliability monitoring, engine monitoring if required, scheduling of checks and component changes, and even the task cards needed for the MRO provider carrying out the work. Hornig said, “This development is based on our well proven maintenance management system, which has been running for four years. Having it on line and available on site is the next technology step.”

The service is up and running now. Hornig stressed, “and it is not limited to Boeing or Airbus or Bombardier. It is available for every product and for every OEM. All we need is the input data from the operator, the documentation and the history if it’s not a brand-new airplane. We enter all the data and then it’s providing continuous on-line, real-time access to all legally required data.”

There is another major benefit for operators, he said. “We take all service bulletins, airworthiness directives and other OEM recommendations, but we do not automatically feed them into the system. We bring more than 25 years’ MRO experience into play in order to make an assessment on those recommendations, when they should be introduced, and whether they are even advisable given the customer’s specific operational needs. So the system also provides maintenance cost optimization.”