Airline Support Team:
The aircraft "doctors"
On call for emergencies
24 hours a day, 365 days a year
Every unscheduled hour that an aircraft stays on the ground costs the affected airline a five-figure amount. Lufthansa Technik offers a service unique around the globe: When the Hamburg logistics center of the world's largest provider of aircraft technical services receives the call for help, "Aircraft on Ground", an Airline Support Team (AST®) can be dispatched from Frankfurt to any airport in the world within a very short time. The specialists take with them a complete set of tools and equipment so that they can repair the aircraft right on the spot, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – around the clock, around the globe.
All of the threads of this world-spanning web come together at the Hamburg emergency center of Lufthansa Technik Logistik Services: when the telephone rings with a call for help, the experts first determine how the damage is to be repaired, what spare parts are needed, if an Airline Support Team must be dispatched, or if technicians already on location can handle the repairs. The Hamburg staff uses computers to determine if the required spare part is available and what its current location is. Employees quickly arrange for the transport of the spare part to the place where it is needed.
All equipment on board
Thanks to their experience and special repair procedures, the experts on the Airline Support Team are often able to solve the problem quickly, avoiding a long and expensive stay of the aircraft in a repair center. When there is engine trouble, boroscope examinations allow them to come up with a diagnosis which frequently makes it possible to take care of the damage, on site. When on a mission, the teams always carry a complete set of tools and equipment with them so that there are no unnecessary delays: from screwdrivers to high-tech devices for measurements and tests.
One example of the comprehensive work done by the Airline Support Team is the procedure "Engine 24", the fast replacement of an engine. Lufthansa Technik AG guarantees that the complete engine will be replaced on the spot within twelve hours, if the customer provides a replacement engine. If necessary, Lufthansa Technik Logistik Services will of course also supply a replacement engine and make sure it is transported to the aircraft. Frequently the turbine blades inside an engine are damaged by birds. Using the special procedure "Blending Scope", co-developed by Lufthansa Technik, the damage can be repaired overnight by re-grinding the blades. Solving this problem used to involve opening the engine housing, or even taking the motor completely off the wing.
Expansion of services
When the Airline Support Team´s service was first introduced in September 1996, it was aimed solely at engine repairs. In the meantime, the great demand has led to a substantial expansion of the range of services offered by Lufthansa Technik. The experts can also clean the vacuum toilets on the spot, for example, or repair minor damage to the aircraft frame. In Frankfurt, the specialists will also quickly carry out repairs on the increasingly complex cabin entertainment systems.
A staff of 40 at Lufthansa Technik Logistik Services in Hamburg secure the continuous operation of the "Aircraft on Ground" help desk. Some 30,000 express procurements must be handled every year. The demand for the Lufthansa Technik services is great, for this innovative offer fulfills precisely the airlines' wish for flexible as well as economical solutions.