Alejandro Garcia Padilla, the governor of Puerto Rico, and Dr. Thomas Stueger, Chief Executive Products, Services & IT at Lufthansa Technik, symbolically turned the sod today to mark the start of the construction of the company’s new overhaul facility, Lufthansa Technik Puerto Rico. With this step, Lufthansa Technik is strengthening its presence in the Americas, which are already home to Hawker Pacific Aerospace, BizJet and Lufthansa Technik Component Services, by adding base maintenance services for Airbus A320 family aircraft.
“Lufthansa Technik Puerto Rico will enhance our access to the world’s largest aviation market in many respects and bring us closer to both existing and potential customers. In Jetblue and Spirit Airlines we have already reliable partners and customers whose airframe maintenance needs and requirements can be optimally met by Lufthansa Technik Puerto Rico,” said Dr. Stueger. “The great support we experience from Governor Padilla and his administration team is much appreciated and crucial for moving our project forward.”
“Puerto Rico’s partnership with Lufthansa Technik represents the cornerstone of the aviation industry my administration is developing,” said Governor Alejandro García Padilla. “Lufthansa Technik’s investment elevates the Island’s presence in the aerospace industry and helps create highly-skilled jobs in a fast-growing sector of the world economy.”
The new hangar in Puerto Rico will feature five overhaul lines across more than 215,000 square feet of space. Thanks to its state-of-the-art technologies, aircraft remain in a single line for painting following their overhauls. This saves time and money, since the aircraft do not need to be towed to a separate line for painting.
The layout of the hangar is based on existing base maintenance operations of the Lufthansa Technik Group, where valuable know-how in the overhaul of this short-haul aircraft type is bundled: rapid turnaround times and high overhaul quality at competitive prices ensure customer satisfaction. “We are transferring this recipe for success to our new American facility,” explains Sören Stark, Senior Vice President Aircraft Base Maintenance Lufthansa Technik. Spirit Airlines will become Lufthansa Technik Puerto Rico’s first customer in July 2015 with JetBlue to follow in November.
As of 2016, up to 400 highly qualified employees will overhaul and maintain aircraft in the hangar’s five lines. The young company already has more than 50 employees, most of whom are from Puerto Rico. Training is also underway full steam: the first course in structural mechanics, with 18 participants, concluded in September, and the trainees are currently at Lufthansa Technik Budapest (Hungary) or Shannon Aerospace (Ireland) for further training. “Through our practical training at established overhaul sites, we ensure that Lufthansa Technik’s quality proposition is fulfilled all over the world,” says Elmar Lutter, CEO of Lufthansa Technik Puerto Rico. Currently further training courses are being held in Puerto Rico.
With the support of Lufthansa Technical Training and specially designed courses, the University of Puerto Rico and the FAA-certified Puerto Rico Aviation Maintenance Institute in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, are making sure that the mechanics receive the necessary knowledge of metalworking in base maintenance as well as type training for the Airbus A320.
As of 2015, training for young mechanics without prior aviation skills will also begin. At this time, the Aviation Maintenance Institute in Ceiba will move to Aguadilla near the new Lufthansa Technik Puerto Rico operation. Here, under the roof of the newly founded Aerospace and Aviation Institute of Puerto Rico (AAIPR), it will play an important role in building up the Lufthansa Technik facility as well as other MRO operations at Rafael Hernández Airport (BQN) in Aguadilla. “With the Aviation Maintenance Institute, the University of Puerto Rico is supporting Lufthansa optimally through its offer of modular training courses and the combination of work experience and studies,” explains Prof. Wilmer Arroyo, Executive Director of the AAIPR.
Source: Lufthansa Technik.