Maintenance provider Lufthansa Technik has opened an inflatable hangar at its facility in Budapest to temporarily increase MRO capacity during the winter 2014/15 period.

The 4000m² (43,000ft²) textile structure can accommodate a single narrowbody aircraft. It was erected in partnership with Budapest airport in October as Lufthansa Technik’s existing five-bay hangar has “proved insufficient” to accommodate the demand for base maintenance during the winter months, says the gateway’s operator.

Airlines tend to use the quieter winter months for maintenance to ensure maximum capacity for the busier summer schedule.

Budapest airport says the inflatable hangar is “currently foreseen” to be employed until April.

Its manufacturer, Spain-based Buildair, says that the project is an opportunity to test the structure’s durability in “more demanding” winter conditions. Thus far, such a hangar has only been used by Airbus’s military division at Getafe air base on the outskirts of Madrid.

The hangar is in principle similar to more common inflatable covers for swimming pools and tennis courts. “But our product is much bigger and is capable of withholding significantly stronger loads,” says Buildair commercial director Jose Antonio Sanz.

Shortly after it was erected, the facility in Budapest had to withstand wind speeds of up to 80km/h (50 mph).

Lufthansa Technik provides base maintenance for Airbus A320s and Boeing 737s in Budapest. Among its customers are low-cost carrier Norwegian and Wizz Air.

Source: Cirium Dashboard