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Nature as a role model: Lufthansa Group and BASF roll out sharkskin technology

The lower the frictional resistance of an aircraft in the air, the lower the fuel consumption. Using nature as a role model, the aviation industry has been intensively researching ways to reduce aerodynamic drag for many years. Now Lufthansa Technik and BASF have succeeded in making the breakthrough as part of a joint project. AeroSHARK, a surface film that mimics the fine structure of a shark's skin, is to be rolled out on Lufthansa Cargo's entire freighter fleet from the beginning of 2022, making the aircraft more economical and reducing emissions.

The surface structure consisting of riblets measuring around 50 micrometers imitates the properties of sharkskin and therefore optimizes the aerodynamics on flow-related parts of the aircraft. This means that less fuel is needed overall. For Lufthansa Cargo's Boeing 777F freighters, Lufthansa Technik estimates a drag reduction of more than one percent. For the entire fleet of ten aircraft, this translates to annual savings of around 3,700 tons of kerosene and just under 11,700 tons of CO2 emissions, which is the equivalent of 48 individual freight flights from Frankfurt to Shanghai.

"Responsibility for the environment and society is a key strategic topic for us," says Christina Foerster, Member of the Executive Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG with responsibility for sustainability. "We have always played a leading role in introducing environmentally friendly technologies. The new sharkskin technology for aircraft shows what strong and highly innovative partners can achieve collectively for the environment. This will help us to achieve our goal of climate neutrality by 2050."

"The aviation industry is facing similar challenges to the chemical industry: ongoing progress must be made with climate protection despite high energy requirements. By collaborating closely and successfully combining our know-how in surface design and aerodynamics, we have now succeeded in taking a major step forward. This is an excellent example of sustainability in practice, achieved through partnership-based collaboration and innovative technologies, "says Dr. Markus Kamieth, Member of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF.

"We are proud that we will now be able to operate our entire freighter fleet even more efficiently in the future thanks to sharkskin technology and reduce the carbon footprint of our modern fleet further. The investments we have made in rolling out AeroSHARK at Lufthansa Cargo consciously reaffirm our commitment to the United Nation's sustainable development goal on climate action, "explains Dorothea von Boxberg, Chief Executive Officer of Lufthansa Cargo AG.

In its cooperation with BASF, Lufthansa Technik is responsible for the material specification, approval by the aviation authorities and performance of aircraft modifications carried out as part of regular maintenance layovers. Backed by decades of experience as an approved aviation design organization, the company will obtain a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for the 777F from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is required for operation.

"We have always used our wealth of expertise as a global market leader in technical aircraft services to also contribute to reducing the ecological footprint of our industry. In doing so, we can leverage significant savings potential from all aircraft generations," explains Dr. Johannes Bussmann, Chief Executive Officer of Lufthansa Technik AG. "I am therefore very proud that we will soon be able to transfer the positive findings of the validation phase into the series application with Lufthansa Cargo. The extremely constructive collaboration with BASF is also the best example of cross-sector cooperation in the interest of the sustainability of the aviation industry. "

The Coatings division of BASF is developing innovative, functional films in its Beyond Paint Solutions unit - such as the riblet surfaces, for example. A solution was implemented together with Lufthansa Technik which fulfills the strict requirements of the aviation industry. Exterior surfaces used in aviation are exposed to factors such as strong UV radiation as well as temperature and pressure fluctuations at high altitudes, among others. BASF has therefore focused its development on achieving extreme durability and weather resistance. The key criteria for use in aviation operation include simple application and handling as well as ease-of-repair, for which a custom concept has been developed.

"As an expert in surfaces, we implement bespoke solutions for our customers. The innovative sharkskin technology allows us to support Lufthansa in achieving its sustainability goals and in making the aviation industry a little more environmentally friendly," says Dirk Bremm, head of BASF's Coatings division and also responsible for functional films in this role.

The aviation industry has been researching the use of sharkskin for aircraft for many years, albeit often just on a small scale. For the first time at the end of 2019, Lufthansa Technik and BASF fitted almost the entire lower half of a Lufthansa Boeing 747-400's fuselage with 500 square meters of such a jointly developed sharkskin surface and had this modification certified by EASA. This aircraft (registration D-ABTK) subsequently validated the savings potential of the technology on scheduled long-haul services during more than 1,500 flight hours. This provided unequivocal proof that emissions were reduced by around 0.8% thanks to the sharkskin modification. The savings for the Boeing 777F are estimated to be even higher, because the application areas are even larger in this case due to the absence of window rows on a freighter, among other reasons. The savings are validated using a software for fuel consumption analyzes developed by Lufthansa Technik, which allows the effectiveness of a wide variety of different aircraft modifications to be demonstrated reliably based on comprehensive data.

Lufthansa Technik and BASF intend to continue developing the new technology consistently to include additional aircraft types and even larger surfaces so that they can support airlines around the globe even more comprehensively in the future in reaching their sustainability goals. Initial model calculations show that use of Sharkskin technology at its highest expansion level could reduce CO2 emissions by as much as three percent.

Joint offer with Airbus for "Temporary Cargo Cabin"

Lufthansa Technik and Airbus team up to offer customers a reversible cargo-in-cabin solution to satisfy urgent demand quickly and easily. The solution for the Airbus A330 family comprises the Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) as well as material kits to modify the passenger aircraft for temporary cargo transport. Cargo capacity is thus increased by up to 15t of additional payload depending on aircraft configuration. Finnair is the first airline to modify an Airbus A330-300 to carry commercial, non-dangerous goods in the main pax deck.

Due to the slow air traffic recovery belly capacity is still low and not likely to return until 2024 to pre-Covid level. Additionally, the exemptions granted by the authorities in the beginning of the pandemic to reuse passenger cabins to transport medical supplies expired. Together with Airbus, Lufthansa Technik now responds with the "Temporary Cargo Cabin", an STC which allows to modify a passenger cabin into a cargo hold.

"We join forces with Airbus in times of crisis to deliver the best solution for aircraft operators. We mutually benefit from each other's expertise in many respects and thus create a blueprint for possible future co-operations," says Soeren Stark, Chief Operations Officer & Accountable Manager at Lufthansa Technik. Daniel Wenninger, Airbus' VP Airframe Services, adds: "The cooperation with Lufthansa Technik enables the smooth implementation of this temporary cargo solution. The A330's best in class operational economics and versatile cabin makes it the perfect aircraft for cargo missions in the current context. With such a new solution, we keep on supporting our Airbus customers. "

Auction of large amount of surplus aircraft components

During MRO Americas 2021, Lufthansa Technik AG will put up large amounts of surplus aircraft parts for auction using the International Air Transport Association's (IATA) new MRO SmartHub e-auction platform, for which the MRO (Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul) giant will act as the launching customer. In the global auction, Lufthansa Technik will offer a broad variety of aircraft parts for almost all current commercial aircraft types.

All auctioned components have been part of the company's surplus inventory for less than three years and are made available in various sub-packages to perfectly fit the needs of specific fleet operators or MROs. Commercial assets include: Airbus A320, A320neo, A330, A340, A380, MD-11, Boeing 737 NG, 737 MAX, 747, 757, 767, 777, and 787. Regional assets include: Bombardier CRJ, Embraer ERJ and De Havilland DHC -8-400. The material will come with dual or triple release certification (FAA / EASA / CAAC) mainly from Lufthansa Technik and with a 12-month warranty.

To get accredited for the bidding process, all current and new customers can register via https://go.updates.iata.org/auction. The auction will start on April 26, 2021.

"In this auction, we offer high quality and well-maintained aircraft components from our extensive surplus portfolio that we are permanently adjusting to the changing demand of our valued customers from all over the world," said Dr. Georg Fanta, Head of Commercials - Aircraft Component Services at Lufthansa Technik. "We are proud to be the first to partner with IATA`s new MRO SmartHub e-Auction platform in order to find new homes for these attractive assets."

"The IATA MRO SmartHub was created in response to the industry's need for greater transparency and efficiency in the aircraft components and surplus parts market. By now adding the e-Auction functionality, we can provide an additional trading channel for buyers and sellers alike. We are honored to have such a renowned industry player as Lufthansa Technik as our launch customer and wish them a successful first auction, "said Tim Schaaf, Director Business Development at IATA.

About IATA MRO SmartHub:
IATA MRO SmartHub is a neutral web-based platform enabling airlines, MRO service providers, OEMs, and appraisers to gain a greater transparency of the surplus aftermarket plus real-time access to fair market values ​​(FMV) for aircraft parts. Utilizing the real-time fair market value, procurement professionals eliminate the necessity to conduct extensive and sometimes costly market research initiatives. MRO SmartHub offers industry-tuned capabilities allowing users to quickly and accurately value surplus part inventories for purchase. Combining all necessary procurement statistics with market availability and turnaround time, users can reduce operational resource requirements.

Supervisory Board early extends Executive Board mandate of Soeren Stark

At its meeting on April 22nd, the Supervisory Board of Lufthansa Technik AG early appointed Soeren Stark as Chief Operations Officer (COO) and Accountable Manager of Lufthansa Technik for further five years until December 31, 2026.

Soeren Stark has been a member of the Executive Board since January 2019. He is responsible for Technical Operations, Logistics and IT. As the "accountable manager" within the meaning of EASA Part 145, Soeren Stark is the point of contact for the aviation authorities on all matters relating to the maintenance and manufacturing operations of Lufthansa Technik AG.

Soeren Stark has held various positions within Lufthansa Group since 2001. From 2016 until 2018, he was responsible for Operations at Lufthansa Cargo as member of the Executive Board.

Second Airbus A350 of the German Air Force to receive its interior in Hamburg

Yesterday evening, the second of a total of three Airbus A350-900s of the German Ministry of Defense's Special Air Mission Wing arrived at Lufthansa Technik in Hamburg for cabin completion. After the first aircraft 10 + 03 "Kurt Schumacher" was initially equipped with a transitional cabin last year to ensure an early entry into service, 10 + 01 "Konrad Adenauer" will now receive the first full government cabin for an aircraft of this type. The completion work will therefore take much longer this time. Delivery to the Luftwaffe is planned for fall 2022.

In parallel with the revised exterior appearance, which has been updated with, among other things, titles in the "Bundes Sans" font and wingtips in large-scale black, red and gold, the 10 + 01 will also differ significantly from the 10+ 03 in the interior. In contrast to the latter's open cabin design, the various functional areas for political-parliamentary flight operations will now be structurally separated from one another, as was already the case with the two predecessors based on the Airbus A340. The rest of the cabin will be available to the delegations flying with them, as usual. It will feature seating with a generous seat pitch, an appropriate number of washrooms and modern galley equipment.

In October, the third Airbus A350, registered 10 + 02, will also arrive in Hamburg to also receive the full government cabin. When both 10 + 01 and 10 + 02 have been redelivered to the German Armed Forces, 10 + 03, which is currently already in service, will also return to Lufthansa Technik to be converted from the transitional to the full government cabin.

Development of new onboard patient transport units

Lufthansa Technik AG recently began the strategic further development of its proven patient transport unit PTE (German: patient transport unit) for the air transport of patients in intensive medical care. Based on an order placed by the German Armed Forces in 2020, an initial 26 PTE NG (New Generation) units will be produced over the next two years.

The further development for the German Armed Forces is based on the Patient Transport Unit (PTU) NG in international service, of which Lufthansa Technik recently delivered eight additional units to NATO's Multinational Multi Role Tanker Transport fleet. One goal of the further development is to make the PTE NG flexibly deployable on all suitable aircraft types of the German Armed Forces. To enable it to be used, for example, on both the Airbus A400M and the future Airbus A321neoLR of the German Air Force, it will receive all the necessary military and also civil approvals as both aviation and medical equipment.

The specification and airworthiness certification will be carried out by Lufthansa Technik. The specialized Swiss medical device manufacturer Aerolite has been contracted to develop and manufacture the system. For installation in different aircraft types, the partners have also developed a special concept that allows electrical connection to various on-board power systems with direct and alternating current. Installation requires no tools and takes only a few minutes.

"The ease of adaptation to a wide variety of aircraft types is a decisive advantage of the new PTE NG for the German Armed Forces," said Mirco Laufer-Beuser, Senior Engineer Aeromedical Solutions at Lufthansa Technik. "This enables us to provide our customer with the greatest possible flexibility in successfully managing its increasingly extensive range of missions."

"With this order, we are also following up on an almost 20-year success story of first-generation PTEs," adds Oliver Thomaschewski, Head of Product and Project Management Aircraft Components at Lufthansa Technik in Hamburg.

The German Armed Forces currently operate 37 first-generation PTEs, which were procured at the time for the Airbus A310 MRTT and C-160 Transall. Almost all of them are still in daily service, since 2018 also on the Airbus A400M. The new generation will also meet the requirements of the German Air Force's future transport fleet. The wealth of experience gained from Bundeswehr missions flows directly into the PTE NG.

Lufthansa Technik to provide component support for MasAir

Lufthansa Technik and the Mexican carrier MasAir Cargo Airline have signed a comprehensive Total Component Support (TCS®) contract covering repair and overhaul of components for MasAir's Boeing 767F fleet. The new contract governs supply for up to 14 aircraft over a period of five years. This is the first contract signed directly between Lufthansa Technik and MasAir.

Gustavo Acevedo, Director of Maintenance, MasAir, said: "With Lufthansa Technik we are confident to have secured the support of a global player in technical aircraft services whose experience and reliability we highly value. This is especially important now that we have started our ambitious fleet expansion plan. "

"This contract is a big success for Lufthansa Technik in the highly competitive Mexican market. As a strong partner, we are looking forward to supporting MasAir during the successful expansion of its business," said Robin Johansson, Senior Director Corporate Sales Latin America and The Caribbean, Lufthansa Technik.

With the Total Component Support TCS® agreement, MasAir benefits from an individual supply concept that enables short, rapid transport paths. Component support of MasAir fleet will be ensured through a home base stock to be established in Mexico City and in Los Angeles, California.

Coronavirus crisis lets Lufthansa Technik's revenue drop by 40%

The crisis in the aviation industry brought on by the coronavirus pandemic has hit Lufthansa Technik AG hard. In fiscal year 2020, revenue * plummeted by 43% year-on-year to € 3.747 million (prior year: € 6.572 million). Adjusted EBIT dropped well into the red to € -383 million (prior year: € 463 million).

In the second quarter of 2020, the pandemic led to a temporary suspension of the majority of air traffic worldwide, resulting in extensive downtime and decommissioning of commercial aircraft, as well as postponements of maintenance events. As a consequence, demand for maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services for aircraft, engines and components suffered a massive slump. Lufthansa Technik, the MRO world market leader, felt the impact of this development in the capacity utilization of its workshops. Certain product divisions, such as Engines and Component Services, saw their capacity utilization temporarily drop by well over half.

As a result, the company has had to reduce its workforce: Including external staff, the number of employees worldwide has already declined by more than 3,000 in the wake of the crisis - a reduction of 12.5% ​​compared with 2019. This also included around 1,900 temporary workers around the world. In terms of in-house staff, the number fell by 5% to 22,745 at the end of 2020 (year-end 2019: 23,855). Numerous investments also had to be stopped or postponed.At € 152 million, expenses for investments were thus significantly lower than in the previous year (€ 313 million).

Wizz Air becomes the first customer of AVIATAR's Technical Logbook solution

Wizz Air becomes the first customer of the Technical Logbook solution of AVIATAR. Through the newly introduced solution, Wizz Air will replace the manual and paper-based process of capturing technical issues during flight / on ground and implement the seemless digital pilot-to-maintenance collaboration application.

AVIATAR's Technical Logbook offers prefilled text blocks and automated input masks that capture technical issues of the aircraft during flight and on ground. It therefore replaces time-consuming manual entries into paper books and improves data quality as well as transparency. The new solution works with any hardware device (e.g. tablet, smartphone or desktop computer) and provides pilots with access to aircraft status anywhere and anytime. It also offers back-up processes in case of connectivity issues. Real-time data availability, directly connected with the M&E system (maintenance and engineering system), ensures maintenance on arrival and enables a seemless pilot-to-maintenance collaboration - leading to decreased turnaround times and costs. In addition, the standardized data structure helps airlines to gain insights into trend analytics.

Julia Brix, Head of Technical Services at Wizz Air, said: "Following our goal to become a paperless airline and to further reduce our environmental footprint significantly, we are excited to become the Launch Customer of AVIATAR's Technical Logbook solution in partnership with Lufthansa Technik. AVIATAR's Technical Logbook will help Wizz Air to deliver such goals by introducing a full paperless cockpit for our crews and also for maintenance. Due to its full integration with AMOS, meaning also live feed with both MOC (Maintenance Operations Center) and OCC (Operations Control Center), the solution will further enhance Wizz Air's Technical and Operational performance. "

"Especially during these difficult times for the aviation industry, it is our goal to help our customers to improve their processes digitally with new solutions on AVIATAR. The modular Technical Logbook application will help our long-standing partner Wizz Air to not only benefit from direct efficiency gains but also enable them access to a completely new pool of real-time operational data. We are proud to jointly work with Wizz Air towards new predictive use cases and health management features leverage this data, "said Philip Mende, Vice President Digital Fleet Solutions at Lufthansa Technik.

Launched in 2017, AVIATAR is the independent platform for digital products and services developed by Lufthansa Technik. The platform offers its users digital products ranging from predictive maintenance to automated fulfillment solutions. AVIATAR combines fleet management solutions, data science and engineering expertise to provide a comprehensive range of integrated digital services and products for airlines, MRO companies, OEMs and lessors that seamlessly integrate with physical fulfillment in TechOps and beyond.

New Corporate Sales Management Team at Lufthansa Technik

Lufthansa Technik AG reorganized its global corporate sales management team at the beginning of the year. Kai-Stefan Roepke has taken over responsibility for EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) and Thomas Boettger for the Asia Pacific region. Frank Berweger remains Vice President Corporate Sales for the Americas.

In December 2020, Kai-Stefan Roepke started his new job as Vice President Corporate Sales EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa). He succeeded Robert Gaag, who retired last year. Kai-Stefan Roepke began his career at Lufthansa Technik in 1996 and has held several positions within the company since then. In his previous role, he was Vice President of Commercials, VIP & Special Mission Aircraft Services in Hamburg since May 2017.

Thomas Boettger has taken over his new position as Vice President Corporate Sales Asia Pacific in January 2021. Since 2001, he has worked in different positions within the Component and Engine department at Lufthansa Technik. Previously, Thomas Boettger was CEO of XEOS in Wrocław, Poland, a joint venture subsidiary of GE and Lufthansa Technik, since 2016.

"With Kai-Stefan Roepke and Thomas Boettger, we have been able to appoint two experienced managers from our own ranks, who now complete the leadership team of our Corporate Sales. In these challenging times they will decisively support our sales activities with their expertise, "said Johannes Bussmann, Chairman of the Executive Board of Lufthansa Technik.