In the first half of 2024, around 600 Airbus aircraft will be delivered A320neo-Series stand on the ground at the same time. The engines of certain years from the American manufacturer Pratt & Whitney need to be checked for possible material defects and many of them will probably need to be repaired. A huge, expensive nuisance for the airlines, which want to get every plane into the air in view of the continuing boom in demand.
The latest Pratt crisis was probably one of the final impetus for a fairly important strategic decision by Lufthansa. When it was on the verge of bankruptcy in mid-2020 due to the corona pandemic, it decided to bring a minority owner on board in its maintenance division Lufthansa Technik and hopefully earn several billion euros. The negotiations dragged on for three years and no conclusion was reached. The group has now decided to call off the sale and instead invest heavily in the maintenance business itself.
“In view of the ongoing manufacturer problems – especially with engines – the strategic value of our Lufthansa Technik as an integral part of the Lufthansa Group has increased significantly again in recent months,” says Detlef Kayser, Group Board Member for Fleet and Technology, and also Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Lufthansa Technik. The problems at Pratt are particularly serious: In general, the latest generation of engines consume significantly less fuel than their predecessors, but are significantly more maintenance-intensive.
The group had recently separated from more and more subsidiaries
“We still have a lot of plans for Lufthansa Technik,” says Kayser. Above all, the division should continue to grow. Another plant will soon be built in Europe to expand capacity, especially in engine maintenance. According to Kayser, “acquisitions are also possible.” Another growth area is the maintenance of military aircraft, which has not yet been part of the core business. Lufthansa Technik is headquartered in Hamburg and is expected to generate sales of more than six billion euros in 2023. Last year it was 5.6 billion.
The group had recently separated from more and more subsidiaries, including the catering specialist LSG Sky-Chefs. Lufthansa wants to concentrate on the actual airlines – 13 airlines now belong to the group. In the summer, Lufthansa also reached an agreement with the Italian state to initially take over 41 percent of ITA Airways. But to date it has not yet formally submitted the project to the European Commission, which must approve the merger. The group wants to clarify as many conditions as possible in advance in order to shorten the actual process. Among other things, it is reportedly about specifying take-off and landing times at Milan-Malpensa Airport. ITA only has a very small presence there, but for Lufthansa Milan is an important location for feeder flights to the hubs in Munich and Frankfurt.