Lufthansa Technik (booth 744) is here to highlight its range of standardised interiors for the Bombardier Challenger 850 business jet, Boeing BBJ and Airbus A318. But the Hamburg-based completions, maintenance, repair and overhauler and cabin systems specialist also has bigger – much bigger – fish to fry.
 “We’re showing for the first time at EBACE our model of an Airbus A380 with both decks in VVIP configuration, “ says marketing and sales senior vice-president Walter Heerdt. “We introduced the A380 VVIP at EBACE last year and since then we’ve done a lot more work on developing the idea.” Apart from the new model, LHT also has graphic treatments of other possible interiors available for inspection at the booth.
 As the engineering arm of Lufthansa – which plans to operate 15 A380s - LHT has invested heavily in support infrastructure for the giant Airbus. Preparations include a new hangar in Frankfurt, a “doghouse” hangar extension in Hamburg, the Spairliners components joint venture with Air France Industries, and a similar arrangement with Rolls-Royce for Trent engine support. “We’re as good as ready for the A380,” says Heerdt. “All we need is an airframe and the ink on one contract and we could go ahead with completing a VVIP version.”
LHT is also looking forward to getting its hands on the next generation of medium-capacity long haulers. “We already have the Airbus A330 and A340 in our product spectrum, and we expect the A350 and the Boeing 787 to attract VVIP interest too,” says Heerdt. “If customers want these types we will certainly be ready to complete them.”
The Boeing aircraft is likely to be the first into the Hamburg shop, Heerdt believes. “On present schedules the 787 will come to market two years ahead of the A350. Then Boeing Business Jets will have to decide on doing a business version, and delivery slots will have to become available. Realistically, we’re unlikely to see a first VIP 787 delivered before 2011-12.”  
In the meantime, LHT has plenty to do coping with early demand for standardised interiors for the Challenger 850, A318 Elite and BBJ.

“Standardised cabins offer the customer all sorts of benefits,” Heerdt explains. “We can distribute the non-recurring costs over several projects, and this is reflected in a lower completion price.”
LHT has an exclusive contract to complete 17 CRJ200-based Challenger 850 business jets over the next three years and similar exclusivity on the A318 Elite, the latest addition to the Airbus corporate/VIP family, and is bracing itself for a steady influx of airframes from the end of the year. Launch customer Comlux of Switzerland ordered three, with another three on option. National Air Service of Saudi Arabia wants five, with the same number on option, and an undisclosed multinational corporation has also ordered five.
Heerdt is looking to Europe and the Middle East – plus the emerging markets in Russia and, in the longer term, China and India. He also sees governments in Europe and elsewhere as likely buyers: LHT and Airbus recently sold a pair of A319CJs to the Czech government, and Germany is reported to be looking to replace its Bombardier Challengers.
“There’s a good total market for the standardised cabins – that’s why we made the strategic decision to go into this area,” concludes Heerdt. “We have three products right now but there are probably more to come.”   

Source: Flight Daily News