Product Divisions: Maintenance

MRO services around the clock

Lufthansa Technik operates maintenance stations with the capability to perform checks on customer aircraft at over 60 airports in Germany and around the world. Lufthansa Technik's maintenance hub is Frankfurt airport, where it has three large hangars. Here 4,000 staff maintain aircraft belonging to Lufthansa's and many other fleets 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In Germany Lufthansa Technik moreover runs maintenance stations in Munich, Berlin and at another 13 airports. In addition to the permanent stations, Lufthansa Technik has also developed a mobile maintenance service that is unique in the world, called the Airline Support Teams (AST®). These small teams consist of highly qualified engineers and mechanics. When called on, they are able to repair damage to engines or to the airframe anywhere in the world within a matter of hours and thus ensure that disruption of a customer's flying operations is minimized.

The technical maintenance of its aircraft plays a critical role in ensuring the safe, punctual and cost-effective flight operations of an airline. Time lost due to an aircraft being unserviceable is expensive both in monetary terms and in customer trust: on top of the loss of revenue and the continuing capital costs, there is the risk of a loss of image as nothing annoys and alarms passengers more than delays and cancellations.

An aircraft consists of several million individual parts. To keep this highly complex system and all its mechanical and electronic components in the best technical condition at all times, there is an elaborate system of maintenance work. Lufthansa Technik AG is able to take over all of this important maintenance and overhaul work for its customers worldwide. The essential difference between maintenance and overhaul is that a maintenance check is short enough to allow the aircraft to remain available for scheduled service, whereas an overhaul is much more extensive and involves taking the aircraft out of service temporarily.

The lowest-level maintenance event is the pre-flight check that precedes every flight and involves an inspection of the aircraft by the cockpit crew and mechanics. This check for visible external damage or leaks lasts between 15 and 60 minutes, depending on the aircraft type.

The next maintenance event in the hierarchy is the ramp check, in which mechanics test individual functions of the aircraft, inspect the tires and brakes and replenish the oil and hydraulic fluids. A visual inspection of the aircraft is also carried out, both externally and in the cabin. Such a check, which is carried out on a daily basis, requires between six and 35 man-hours.

Next in size is the weekly service check, a combination of the work performed in the ramp check with tasks such as topping up the water, air and oil and thorough cleaning of the cabin, which takes between ten and 55 man-hours.

The A- and C-checks are significantly more labor-intensive. The A-check is carried out every 350 to 750 flying hours and, depending on the requirement, will take between 45 and about 260 man-hours. As well as general inspections of the interior and the aircraft hull, it also covers service checks as well as engine and function checks. At the same time the technicians replenish consumables such as oil, water and air and eliminate defects whose rectification has been postponed on the grounds that they did not impair flight safety. If any extensive seat repairs are required, these are also carried out in this interval inspection.

Even more detailed is the maintenance work carried out in connection with the C-check, the biggest maintenance event before an overhaul. This entails thorough inspections inside and outside, along with meticulous examination of structures (load-bearing components on the fuselage and wings) and functions. For example, the technicians would use ultrasonic techniques to look for cracks in critical components. For the C-check, which can take between 1,500 and 2,000 man-hours of work, an aircraft will spend up to five days in the maintenance hangar.

Lufthansa Technik's competence to perform such maintenance work is ensured by the official approvals it holds from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the American Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and a variety of national aviation authorities. Lufthansa Technik AG was also involved in the development and further improvement of an IT-based system to optimize the maintenance work required in each case. Thanks to these Aircraft Engineering Services (AES), highly efficient work packages are put together for maintenance. As a result it is possible to perform the checks a lot more efficiently and save large sums of money.