Cabins contribute 10 per cent to Lufthansa Technik turnover
VIP completions and cabin systems contributed around 10 per cent of Lufthansa Technik’s 2008 revenue total of Eur3.7 billion, company chairman August Henningsen said today at the European MRO giant’s headquarters in Hamburg.
Commenting on LHT’s financial results for the year, Henningsen said that total revenues were up four per cent on the previous year and reported a pre-tax operating result of Eur299 million, a two per cent improvement. The company also grew its customer base by 37 to a total of 668 airlines and other operators worldwide, and signed over 500 new contracts worth a total of Eur3.2 billion – a record.
But Henningsen struck an ominous note about the year to come, while expressing guarded hopes that it might still be possible to achieve a further sales increase. “2008 was quite pleasant for us, but we are now confronted by a global crisis that we need to think about very carefully,” he said. “An additional 1,200 airliners were parked last year to bring the total to 2,300, 11 per cent of the fleet. This is an alarm signal for us in our capacity as a provider of technical services for the airlines.”
He continued: “It’s difficult to forecast how 2009 will turn out. We’re certainly expecting a downturn, but if it comes to an end fairly quickly we might still be able to improve on our 2008 sales.”
Striking a more positive note, the Lufthansa Technik boss reported that the company was on course to open its new, Eur10 million Innovation Centre building on March 31, during the Aircraft Interiors show in Hamburg. Among the leading products of the Innovation team to date are the NICE cabin network – a standard offering on the Bombardier Challenger 300 and retrofitted to a number of Global Expresses and VIP widebodies - and the new NICEview moving-map system.
The Innovation Centre will bring together under one roof all the research, development and production work associated with Lufthansa Technik’s wide and growing range of cabin systems, which also includes high-definition displays, iPod docking stations, IFE servers and flat-panel speakers. It will include a “think tank” area, a laboratory and test benches and, says the company, will focus on developing new concepts for airline and VIP cabins. Employee count in the facility is expected to grow from 60 to a hundred, with the total ultimately doubled by the addition of supplier personnel.
The company’s VIP business benefited last year from a contract from the German government for the outfitting of a pair of Airbus A340-300s, the first of which is to enter work in May, along with a continuing high level of activity in the A318 Elite VIP completions programme. LHT has been contracted for 16 of these aircraft: seven have been delivered and the eighth is currently in the Hamburg hangar. The programme is due to be transferred to LHT’s BizJet subsidiary in Tulsa, Oklahoma, during the summer.
“Demand large corporate and VIP aircraft is still high,” Henningsen commented. “But it is also proving to be volatile.”