Lufthansa Technik (LHT) has signed a new contract to turn its co-operation with Uzbekistan Airways into a strategic partnership.

According to LHT regional sales director Peter Kamenz, the German company will now provide a total technical support package for two Boeing 767-300ERs and one VIP Boeing 757-200 in the airline's fleet, as well as continuing existing work on Uzbekistan's two Airbus A310-300s.

The German maintenance company will also transfer the necessary knowhow to help the carrier to set up its own maintenance base, allowing it to carry out its own maintenance up to C checks in the future. Kamenz says that Uzbekistan Airways wants to become as independent as possible, pointing out that "-they are already performing all the line maintenance on their Airbuses on their own, and they intend later to perform C checks on their Airbuses in Tashkent".

There is a sizeable overhaul plant in Tashkent already, known as Plant Number 243, which has until now specialised in maintaining Ilyushin aircraft - particularly Il-62s. "This business is largely finished, so [the plant is] looking at alternative sources of work. It is expecting some workload from Uzbekistan Airways in performing C checks," says Kamenz.

LHT already has a similar deal, signed in December, with Aeroflot Russian International Airlines (ARIA), which wants to set up a maintenance centre at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport. The Russian airline is due to carry out its first C check at the Moscow site this year.

According to Kamenz, this could eventually lead to Aeroflot offering maintenance to other airlines in the CIS. "The strategy is that the customer will take over the [maintenance] package step by step," he says.

LHT services ARIA's eight A310-300s, and will maintain two more belonging to Diamond Sakha Airlines, but operated by ARIA, from April 1999. The company also plans to bid to provide support of ten Boeing 737-400s which ARIA intends to buy.

Source: Flight International