Lufthansa is threatening to cut back its future orders for Boeing airliners if the US manufacturer goes ahead with plans to enter the third-party airliner maintenance market, in competition with the German flag carrier's Lufthansa Technik subsidiary.

Juergen Weber, Lufthansa's chairman, says that any such plans by Boeing would constitute "bad business behaviour", and would affect future procurement. "After all, we don't build aircraft, "Weber told journalists in New York.

Boeing has responded by playing down reports that it is about to diversify into airliner maintenance, possibly by taking over the engineering divisions of carriers such as British Airways, which are keen to spin-off non-core activities.

"No decision has been taken on entering the maintenance market," says Boeing. "The concept is one of several being studied by Boeing Enterprises. The last thing Boeing wants to do is compete with its customers," the company adds. "We are very cognisant of the sensitivities and will be very careful."

Boeing and FlightSafety International recently announced the formation of a company to provide flight- and ground-crew training, prompting rivals to suggest that airlines which sell training services are upset by that joint venture.

Source: Flight International