Alejandro Garcia Padilla, the governor of Puerto Rico, and Dr Thomas Stueger, Chief Executive Products, Services & IT at Lufthansa Technik, symbolically turned the sod today to mark the start of the construction of the company’s new overhaul facility, Lufthansa Technik Puerto Rico. With this step, Lufthansa Technik is strengthening its presence in the Americas, which are already home to Hawker Pacific Aerospace, BizJet and Lufthansa Technik Component Services, by adding base maintenance services for Airbus A320 family aircraft. Airbus’ most successful bird is a Hamburg product, assembled at the company’s site in Finkenwerder.
Maintenance for Hamburg’s Best-Selling Aircraft
The new hangar in Puerto Rico will feature five overhaul lines across more than 215,000 square feet of space. Thanks to its state-of-the-art technologies, aircraft remain in a single line for painting following their overhauls. This saves time and money, since the aircraft do not need to be towed to a separate line for painting. The layout of the hangar is based on existing base maintenance operations of the Lufthansa Technik Group, where rapid turnaround times and high overhaul quality ensure customer satisfaction. Spirit Airlines will become Lufthansa Technik Puerto Rico’s first customer in July 2015 with JetBlue to follow in November.
400 Jobs and Many Training Options
As of 2016, up to 400 highly qualified employees will overhaul and maintain aircraft in the hangar’s five lines. The young company already has more than 50 employees, most of whom are from Puerto Rico. Training is also underway, with the first course in structural mechanics concluded by18 participants, in September. These trainees currently undergo additional training at Lufthansa Technik Budapest (Hungary) or Shannon Aerospace (Ireland). Further trainings are also being held in Puerto Rico.
With the support of Lufthansa Technical Training and specially designed courses, the University of Puerto Rico and the FAA-certified Puerto Rico Aviation Maintenance Institute in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, are making sure that the mechanics receive the necessary knowledge of metalworking in base maintenance as well as type training for the Airbus A320.
Close Co-Operation with Academia
As of 2015, training for young mechanics without prior aviation skills will also begin. At this time, the Aviation Maintenance Institute in Ceiba will move to Aguadilla near the new Lufthansa Technik Puerto Rico operation. Under the roof of the newly founded Aerospace and Aviation Institute of Puerto Rico (AAIPR), it will play an important role in building up the Lufthansa Technik facility as well as other MRO operations at Rafael Hernández Airport (BQN) in Aguadilla. “With the Aviation Maintenance Institute, the University of Puerto Rico is supporting Lufthansa optimally through its offer of modular training courses and the combination of work experience and studies,” explains Prof. Wilmer Arroyo, Executive Director of the AAIPR.
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