Lufthansa Technik has inked its second Boeing 747-8 VIP completions deal at Dubai.
The project has been contracted by an undisclosed customer from the Middle East, with the four-engined jetliner due to arrive at the company's Hamburg base in late 2012.
This will be the second 747-8 that will be fitted out with a VIP interior by the maintenance company. Work on the first aircraft is scheduled to begin in mid-2012.
LHT has letters of intent for two more 747-8 VIP completion projects. If these were to be finalised, the German firm would have gathered 44% of the new type's private fleet currently on order.
Boeing has sold nine 747-8s fitted out with VIP interiors, according to Walter Heerdt, senior vice president marketing and sales at LHT. Eight of these aircraft are to be delivered within 18 months of the first delivery next year.
A main advantage of the new type versus previous 747 generations is that the space above the main passenger deck, aft of the double-deck section, can be utilised for the conversion. This will allow the installation of, for example, sleeping cabins or a high, arched ceiling, said Hans Schmitz, senior vice president VIP and executive jet solutions at LHT.
Winning further widebody VIP conversion contracts will determine whether LHT will be able to take on the Airbus A380, for which the European airframer has a long-standing order. While the double-deck aircraft should not pose any technical challenges, it will require the engineering, design and production capacity of two widebody projects, said Schmitz. LHT has three production lines for twin-aisle aircraft VIP conversions.
Heerdt said that no A380 capacity is available until mid-2014 "at the earliest". But how this will be used needs to decided in 2013, he added.