NARRATIVE BY BEN ROURKE & IMAGES BY BEN ROURKE / MARK ROURKE
Founded in 1926, the Lufthansa group continues to develop into the last quarter of 2015, with some 540 subsidiaries forming the world’s largest aviation group. The group’s offerings include several airlines, maintenance repairs, , flight training, catering, and many more industry leading services. In 2014 the Lufthansa group had a total of 119,000 employees that generated revenues of circa €30 billion.
The Lufthansa Group is comprised of 6 main divisions.
1. Maintenance, repair and overhaul
2. Flight/cabin crew training
4. Passenger Airlines
5. Freight and cargo services
6. Information technology services
Pixelsnipers recently had the opportunity to visit the Lufthansa Technik and flight training facilities in Frankfurt where they were briefed about the MRO services and flight/cabin crew training facilities, as well as the future directions and plans of the Lufthansa group.
Lufthansa Technik’s roots stretch back all the way back the early fifties where Deutsche Lufthansa AG began flight operations. As a result Lufthansa, still as one company, constructed a double hangar at it’s Hamburg base in order to accommodate 3 Lockheed L1049G Super Constellation aircraft. This base used for maintenance, was further expanded with engine shop and office facilities. Moving into the Jet age, in 1960, Lufthansa acquired its first jet aircraft, the Boeing 707. Subsequently Lufthansa began constructing a maintenance base at Frankfurt, the new hub and daily maintenance centre for their flight operations. Continuing to develop, Lufthansa built the world’s first noise protection hangar and began servicing customers aircraft as well as their own. Lufthansa was highly respected and renowned for it’s modern technology advancements. Through the economic slowdown and fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, Lufthansa’s maintenance division emerged and constructed a MRO facility at Berlin-Schönefeld airport. Through continuous development, in 1994 the decision was made to break up the Lufthansa group. The maintenance and engineering division was converted into an independent stock corporation to what we know today as, Lufthansa Technik.
Lufthansa Technik employs over 20,000 staff worldwide andhas 60 line maintenance stations, making 1200 aircraft inspections daily. The Frankfurt facility has around 4000 employees and normally around a further 250 apprentices to keep the facilities working around the clock. Frankfurt’s airport is Technik’s centralised maintenance location, with Lufthansa’s and over 100customers aircraft serviced there. Lufthansa Technik provides specialisations in a number of different fields at the Frankfurt facility that . is orientated around line checks, as well as regular A and C airframe checks. Technik also offers various other services such as landing gear changes, major structural repairs, and avionics upgrades as well as many more industry leading services in the civilian aviation market. Customers vary in all shapes and sizes, and include regional start-ups, small and mid-sized carriers as well as legacy airlines that operate around the world. To name a few, SAS, Air Malta, Wizz Air, Spirit Airlines and Jetblue use Technik’s expertise for their necessary maintenance solutions.
The Airline Group
Lufthansa Airline Group is Europe’s largest airline in terms of passenger numbers. Last year, Lufthansa and its subsidiaries listed below, carried 105.9 million Passengers using the group’s fleet of over 615 aircraft.
● Austrian Airlines
● Edelweiss Air
● Lufthansa Cargo
● Lufthansa Regional
● Sun Express
The Future And Training
The Lufthansa Group continuously thinks ahead in order to have all necessary engineering capabilities up and running well in time before a new aircraft enters service or new technology is unveiled. Technik creates partnerships with other airlines and selected manufacturers in order to meet the preparation requirements for a worry free introduction of a new aircraft. Lufthansa provides services for the newer aircraft such as the Boeing 787, A380 and the Airbus A350 due to enter service shortly, optimising the process of the integration of a new aircraft for customers worldwide. Moving into the future, the Lufthansa group aims to offer more comfort to any class of passenger on an ultra modern fleet whilst simultaneously reducing the environmental impact. The introduction of aircraft such as the Boeing 747-8 can cut carbon emissions per passenger by over 15%, whilst reducing noise pollution by 30%. Moreover, Lufthansa retrofits its ageing aircraft, for example their Boeing 737-500 fleet which are being fitted with new sound absorbing material, reducing the noise emissions of the 25 year old fleet which is due to be replaced shortly.
Frankfurt is the home base for Lufthansa flight Training. The Lufthansa Flight Training centre is just meters away from Frankfurt Am Main airport, assembling the company’s entire training portfolio in a sleek and modern building. Frankfurt is the home of Flight attendant school and emergency training, as well as Human Factors and service training. Within the same building 20 full motion flight simulators can be found, from Airbus A320 aircraft all the way to Boeing 747 simulators. Furthermore, there are various emergency simulators and door trainers as well as for cabin crew training.
Completed in 2007, the colossal 25’000 square metre hangar, the size of 4 football pitches opened in 2008, designed to accommodate up to 3 Large aircraft at once (Airbus A380 or Boeing 747 aircraft). With only the first phase of construction complete, the second phase was scheduled to be completed in 2015 and will extend the maintenance space allowing for simultaneous work on up to 6 Airbus A380 “Super jumbo” aircraft, making it the largest aircraft hangar in Europe. As aviation reporter David Parker Brown quoted,” it’s certainly one way to make the world’s largest passenger aircraft look small!” The aim of the site located on the southern perimeter of Frankfurt’s airport, is to allow maintenance work in the life cycle of the A380 to be carried out quickly, easily and economically. The combination of experience and dedication from the Lufthansa Group allows them to operate the Airbus A380, the backbone of their long haul routes, reliably and consistently.
Here are some pictures showing the sheer size of the hangar, where, when we visited, Airbus A380-800D-AIMM and Boeing 747-400 D-ABTL were present receiving minor maintenance and engine cleaning.
Pixelsnipers would like to thank Anne Rose and Hans Raahman for a very personalised and in depth tour of the facilities, sharing their huge wealth of knowledge with us.