Airbus has signed an MoU with Thai Airways International to evaluate the development of a major new MRO facility at U-Tapao International Airport near Bangkok. The new MRO will be one of the most modern and extensive in the Asia-Pacific region, offering line and heavy maintenance services for a wide range of aircraft types. A new complex will feature the latest technologies for analysing aircraft maintenance data, and advanced inspection techniques, including the use of drones to monitor aircraft airframes.
The MRO campus will also include specialised repair shops, including a repair centre for composite structures, as well as a maintenance training centre offering extensive courses for technical personnel from Thailand and overseas.
Designed by the Thai government, this Airbus and Thai Airways joint initiative will be a strategic contribution to the Eastern Economic Corridor, in which U-Tapao International Airport is set to become a new aerospace hub.
Airbus is setting up a greenfield training facility at Aerocity, New Delhi, to support India’s growing need for Airbus pilots and maintenance engineers. The almost 7000m² Airbus Training India centre will be built to a modular design and will become operational by the end of 2018 with two A320 full flight simulators, increasing to four – and potentially to six – simulators in due course. It will start with an initial capacity to train over 800 pilots and 200 maintenance engineers annually. The centre will cater primarily to Airbus operators in India and the region. Airbus has more than 250 aircraft in service in India and over 570 are on order by Indian airlines.
Lufthansa Technik has reported that sales revenues from the company and its 22 fully consolidated companies climbed €45 million from €5.099 billion to €5.144 billion. The company achieved earnings before interest and tax (adjusted EBIT) of €411.3 million (previous year: €454.4 million).
Third-party business with customers outside the Lufthansa Group grew disproportionately. External revenue from outside the Group grew by 8% to €3.5 billion.
Meanwhile, the revenue generated by group companies fell significantly, declining 11.7% to €1.6 billion, following the completion of a modification programme for the Lufthansa long haul fleet.
Revenue grew disproportionately in the growth regions of Asia and the US. The substantial growth in revenue in the American market that was seen in 2015 continued unabated in 2016, with growth of 14% and revenue of around €900 million. In Asia, even higher growth of 23% was achieved. With revenue now at around €600 million, this market is rapidly gaining in importance for Lufthansa Technik.
The number of aircraft covered by support contracts with the company grew by 12%, to reach a new record of more than 4,100. In 2016, the company acquired 42 new customers (previous year: 27) and concluded 456 new contracts (previous year: 375), with a revenue volume for 2016 and subsequent years totalling €5.7 billion (previous year: €3.1 billion). These included several long-term component supply agreements for new aircraft models, especially the Airbus A350, with contracts from China Airlines and Ethiopian Airlines. With Finnair already a customer, Lufthansa Technik is the leading provider for the aircraft, says Dr Johannes Bussmann, Chairman of the Executive Board.
Lufthansa Technik is pushing ahead with the expansion of its international presence and the regionalisation of its activities in 2017. After the successful implementation of regional sales structures, the next major step will be the positioning of Lufthansa Technik Philippines in Manila to serve the entire region, while Component Services in Hamburg will add Lufthansa Technik Component Services Asia Pacific in Hong Kong and the leadership of the landing gear business unit will be moved from Hamburg to London. In addition, there is an MoU with Malaysia Airlines for a joint venture to establish a narrowbody MRO facility in Kuala Lumpur. This is still under evaluation but with a decision expected in the next few months.
The global logistics network is adding new warehouses in London, Hong Kong, the US, Düsseldorf, and Munich along with the launch of two companies, and Lufthansa Technik Middle East, to improve the global supply of components.
Lufthansa Technik invested more than €216 million in development to secure its own future, some 40% more than in 2015. Major areas of focus were innovation and product development, new technologies, mastering new materials, the automation of repair processes, and digitalisation. The company established its new Digital Fleet Solutions division in Hamburg. Last year also saw expenditure of around €200 million to expand the material pool.
Clarifying a previous statement that airframe maintenance will be closed in Hamburg, this applies only to commercial aircraft, Dr Bussmann told MRO News Focus, the VVIP business will remain active and will be expanded.
GE Aviation has announced the selection of its Nantgarw overhaul facility, based just north of Cardiff, Wales, as the company’s global ‘Entry into Service’ readiness programme for the GE9X engine. GE Aviation Wales was selected based on its technical expertise and its track record of continuous improvement. The site, which employs more than 1,400 people, will also benefit from a £5 million investment from the Welsh Government to subsidise the total £20 million investment over the next five years. The funds will allow the facility to be equipped and upskilled, in order to be ready to maintain the GE9X fleet when it enters service on the Boeing 777X.
GKN Aerospace’s Fokker business has launched a brand new sharing platform for regional aircraft operators and lessors named AirlinesforAirlines.com. The platform provides regional airlines with an efficient online meeting point to work together ensuring a continued operation and minimum downtime for maintenance. Over 30 operators and lessors have already signed-up before launch.
This will start with the ATR 42/72 community but will extend coverage to other aircraft types. Operators and lessors will benefit as they can easily contact each other to request and offer technical, logistic or fleet size solutions. For AOGs, it will provide a quick solution as a request is immediately directed to airlines that support the same aircraft type.
There will be five user groups that participating members can join:
Peter Somers, President of Fokker Services, says: “The platform distinguishes itself from the various aviation marketplaces by a clear focus on collaboration amongst regional aircraft operators and lessors that fly/own the same aircraft and think alike. We are convinced that this platform, next to providing an additional source for solutions, will initiate many more innovations for the benefit of all participants as it brings us closer to the airline community.”
GKN Aerospace’s Fokker business will, just like all member operators and lessors, participate within the platform by offering availability of parts and tooling, manpower, as well as knowledge and engineering services. New functionalities will be added continuously in close cooperation and consultation with the community members. ModStore.aero, Fokker’s aircraft modifications trading place, will be connected to AirlinesforAirlines.com on a community level, offering operators and lessors direct access to all available aircraft modifications worldwide.