Lufthansa Technik (LHT) is about to begin what it calls the world’s first head-of-state cabin conversion of an Airbus A350 for the German federal government’s Special Air Mission Wing. LHT will equip the aircraft with a special transitional cabin for transportation of delegations so the aircraft can be used for service as soon as possible next year.
The A350—one of three ordered by the German government—will be coming straight from Airbus to LHT’s VIP workshops in Hamburg, which have begun preparations in anticipation of the aircraft’s expected arrival in April 2020. According to LHT, negotiations pertaining to the other two A350s are ongoing and it is confident it will sign a contract for their interior conversions soon.
LHT, which received EASA approval as a Part 21J design organization for the A350 in early 2017, will handle installation work as well as design and engineering for the interior, aside from purchased parts. The transitional cabin will feature an office area and conference area adjoined by a multifunctional lounge area. LHT says it will also be equipped with modern, comfortable seats, washrooms and a kitchen designed to cater for up to 150 people.
LHT is not disclosing details about the project timeline or major completion milestones, but the company says it has begun the engineering process and it is procuring the first purchase parts for the interior.
“The German Air Force was our very first external customer. We have been equipping its aircraft, including government aircraft, for decades, thus forming a comprehensive partnership,” explains Wieland Timm, senior director sales, VIP & special mission aircraft, LHT. “That we have now been asked to support and equip the latest generation of government aircraft as well is a great vote of confidence. With our wide-ranging expertise for the Airbus A350, we are well equipped to meet the high expectations of the new government aircraft.”
Earlier this year, LHT completed a comprehensive modifications project for the German armed forces that entailed converting an Airbus A319CJ into observation aircraft for use under the Treaty on Open Skies. The 26-month conversion project entailed more than 150 modifications ranging from implementing airworthiness directives to major structural modifications to accommodate observation and camera technology.