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LHT Puerto Rico opens for business

Lufthansa Technik's (LHT) expansion in the Americas region began on Tuesday (July 21) with the opening of its new 19,000m2 MRO facility in Puerto Rico.

Operating as Lufthansa Technik Puerto Rico (LTPR), the new facility at Rafael Hernández International Airport in Aguadilla will offer heavy maintenance services for the A320 to begin with.

On its first day of operation, LTPR performed its first c-check on a Spirit Airlines operated A320, while fellow US low-cost carrier JetBlue is also among the site’s launch customers.

Given the location of Puerto Rico in the Americas as well as the region’s growing narrowbody fleet, it came as little surprise when LHT announced its decision to set up operations there through the formation of a subsidiary.

The MRO had yet to establish its presence in the Central part of the Americas, with its regional interests situated in North America, comprising of its Tulsa, Oklahoma-based BizJet International subsidiary.

Considering the area’s demand for A320s, with airlines north and south of Puerto Rico placing large orders in recent times, LTPR already has plans to expand its operation in the Caribbean island.

This includes the addition of another overhaul line by November, followed by three more lines being added up to early 2017 to service the 737.

Johannes Bussmann, LHT chairman, said the Americas are “one of the most important MRO markets worldwide” and stated earlier this year that the Puerto Rico facility could one day handle 100 to 150 aircraft per year.

Coming to Puerto Rico was made more attractive for LHT due to efforts by the country’s government to attract new aviation projects to the island by offering incentives to firms.

There are of course, also economic benefits for the financially troubled US territory.

The facility has initially created 140 technical jobs, and LTPR expects this to more than double to 400 in just over two years.

Given its close proximity to A320 and 737 operators in the US and Mexico, the opportunity for new business is also obvious.

While still in its early stages, establishing LTPR could prove a very savvy move by LHT.

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