120514747-8enginefra020.jpg.crop_display.jpg Lufthansa
Triebwerkswartung an einer Boeing 747-8 bei Lufthansa Technik in Frankfurt / Boeing 747-8 engine maintenance at Lufthansa Technik in Frankfurt

GE-Lufthansa Partnership Eyes 747-8, 777X Third-Party Engine Work

GE Aviation and Lufthansa Technik have laid the groundwork for a Europe-based GEnx-2B and GE9X full-service overhaul facility.

GE Aviation and Lufthansa Technik (LHT) have laid the groundwork for a Europe-based GEnx-2B and GE9X full-service overhaul facility to handle Lufthansa’s engine work needs and offer a multitude of resources to service other carriers. 

The two subsidiaries, along with parent companies General Electric (GE) and Lufthansa, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on June 15 to create the facility, which is slated to see its first engine sometime in 2018. The companies did not disclose their planned investments or the joint venture’s (JV) ownership structure.

The shop—which will operate under a GE Branded Service Agreement—will handle everything from back-shop repairs to full overhauls for the GE-made Boeing 747-8 and 777X engines. It will also have a test cell. Some repair work will be sent out to GE and LHT facilities, the companies say. Down-the-road plans include jointly developed repairs and mobile support services.

While it is not clear how many engines the facility will handle at full capacity, the companies anticipate that Lufthansa powerplants will make up about 15% of the shop’s work. The carrier’s 19-aircraft 747-8 fleet is the largest in operation and, counting unfilled orders, trails only Volga-Dnepr Group’s 26-aircraft commitment to Boeing’s four-engine widebody.

The GEnx-2B is the lone option offered for the 747-8, and LHT is already deeply invested in the engine. The MRO provider recently began its first GEnx-2B quick-turn shop visits, which are expected to be completed this month. More than 400 GEnx-2Bs are in service.

Lufthansa also is the launch customer for the 777-9X, which—like all 777X models—will be powered by GE9X engines. The carrier has 34 777-9Xs on order, with deliveries slated to begin in 2020. Boeing has firm orders for 320 777Xs, including a 10-order deal from Qatar Airways on the Paris air show’s first day. 

The new shop is the first announced as part of the GE9X MRO network outside of GE’s wholly owned facilities.

On paper, the JV will have only two customers: GE Aviation and LHT. Each will maintain independent sales forces that will cut deals with third-party customers and drive work to the new shop.

All signs point to the shop being based in Europe. GE says the exact location will be chosen based on several factors, including availability of skilled workers and sufficient local infrastructure to handle both the facility and engine-transportation requirements. The companies hope to pick a site by year-end. 

The JV expands GE’s ties with the Hamburg-based MRO provider, which is a GE network partner for CF34 overhauls as well as GEnx-2B quick turns. The companies also have several material services and repair agreements.

It also adds a European-based JV to the GEnx-2B support network. Other GEnx-2B facilities include Turbine Services & Solutions Aerospace in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as well as Taiwan’s GE Evergreen Aviation Services, which is already doing quick-turns and plans to introduce both test cell and full-overhaul services by the end of the decade.

GE’s fully owned shops in Prestwick, Scotland, and Petropolis, Brazil, also have -2B overhaul capabilities. Prestwick has a test cell and Petropolis has plans to introduce test-cell capabilities. 

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