Lufthansa Technik Sofia is targeting the winter 2018/2019 season as the introduction date for Airbus A320neo services.
Daniel Hoffman, CEO of the Lufthansa Technik Sofia business, says the plan to add the A320neo to its existing line and base maintenance approvals, which have been for the A320 family aircraft and the Boeing 737 since the business formed in 2008, is underway with a project leader recently installed to oversee the process.
Once complete, Lufthansa Technik Sofia will be the first facility in the network to hold A320neo capabilities.
“Preparing for the A320neo will mean getting the necessary approvals and equipment in place. As our mechanics are busy at this moment in time [October 2017], we will come back to the training in summer 2018 in order to get those approvals,” he says.
Hoffman also says he is unsure about whether Lufthansa Technik Sofia will gain approvals for the Boeing 737MAX, the A320neo rival which entered into commercial service in May 2017.
He explains that Lufthansa Technik’s Hamburg headquarters is overseeing the process of readying the network for new aircraft types and will allocate capabilities across different facilities worldwide.
Lufthansa Technik Sofia unveiled its expanded facility in the Bulgarian capital last month, going from a five-bay facility to a new eight-bay one. It says that the 60% capacity increase means Sofia is now the largest base maintenance provider in the Lufthansa Technik network.
The €35 million ($41 million) expansion includes three additional lines and workshop areas, along with the eventual creation of more than 300 new jobs.