Rendering of the future hangar of Lufthansa Technik Puerto Rico.
Aguadilla, Puerto Rico – Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro García Padilla and Dr. Thomas Stüger, chief executive products, services & IT at Lufthansa Technik, recently broke ground on construction of the company’s new overhaul facility, Lufthansa Technik Puerto Rico. The new Lufthansa facility will help grow Puerto Rico’s aerospace and aviation industry, diversify its economy, create high-skilled jobs, and stimulate science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. With the Aguadilla site, 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 the Airbus A320 family aircraft.
With an estimated economic impact of $2.2 billion over a 30-year period, Lufthansa Technik’s partnership with Puerto Rico represents a major strategic advancement for the Commonwealth’s economic development plan to diversify its industrial base. By 2016, up to 400 highly skilled employees will be employed to overhaul and maintain aircraft in the hangar’s five lines. The facility has already hired more than 50 employees, most of whom are from Puerto Rico, and they are receiving extensive training at Lufthansa facilities in Puerto Rico, Lufthansa Technik Budapest, and Shannon Aerospace in Ireland.
U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service Deputy Director General Judy Reinke, Lufthansa Technik Puerto Rico CEO Elmar Lutter, JetBlue Senior Vice President of Operations Jeffrey Martin, and Spirit Airlines Vice President of Supply Chain & Operations Support Charles Rue also participated in the groundbreaking ceremony, which included the showing of a short film illustrating the maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) facility’s high-end technologies and capabilities. During the event, participants discussed the growth of the aerospace sector in Puerto Rico and its impact on the U.S. and world economies.
“Lufthansa Technik Puerto Rico will enhance our access to the world’s largest aviation market in many respects and bring us closer to both existing and potential customers,” said Dr. Stüger. “The great support we experience from Gov. García Padilla and his administration team is much appreciated and crucial for moving our project forward.”
“Puerto Rico’s partnership with Lufthansa Technik represents the cornerstone of the aviation industry my administration is developing,” said Padilla. “Lufthansa’s investment elevates the Island’s presence in the aerospace industry and helps create highly-skilled jobs in a fast-growing sector of the world economy.”
“Lufthansa Technik's investment demonstrates that international firms understand the United States has much to offer and we are thrilled to congratulate Lufthansa Technik and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico,” said Judy R. Reinke, deputy director general of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service at the U.S. Department of Commerce. “Last year, the United States attracted $231 billion in foreign direct investment, up from $161 billion in 2012. This investment employs nearly six million people across the country.” Earlier this year, SelectUSA – a U.S. Department of Commerce effort to encourage, facilitate, and accelerate business investment in the United States – assisted Puerto Rico in the process to establish Lufthansa Technik’s operations in the U.S.
Spirit Airlines will become Lufthansa Technik Puerto Rico’s first customer in July 2015.
Lufthansa Technik’s new hangar in Puerto Rico will service short- and medium-haul aircraft, featuring five overhaul lines across more than 215,000ft2 of space. Thanks to its state-of-the-art technologies, aircraft remain in a single line for painting following their overhauls. This process saves time and money, since the aircraft does not need to be towed to a separate line for painting.
Lufthansa, the University of Puerto Rico, and the FAA-certified Puerto Rico Aviation Maintenance Institute in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, are working in tandem to train mechanics in metalworking, base maintenance, and type training for A320 aircraft.
Next year, Lufthansa will also begin training new mechanics at a brand new Aerospace and Aviation Institute of Puerto Rico (AAIPR) in Aguadilla to support the Lufthansa Technik facility and operations at Rafael Hernandez Airport.
“With the Aviation Maintenance Institute, Puerto Rico is supporting Lufthansa optimally through its offer of modular training courses and the combination of work experience and studies,” says Prof. Wilmer Arroyo, Executive Director of the AAIPR.
Source: Lufthansa Technik Group