Lufthansa Technik (LHT) is in talks with potential partners to boost its investment in Asia-Pacific to meet the growing maintenance needs of the region.

The company's senior vice-president for corporate sales in Asia-Pacific, Gerald Steinhoff, told FlightGlobal in a recent interview that priority will be given to base maintenance, as there is strong demand for narrowbody maintenance in the region.

He cites the example of Manila-based Lufthansa Technik Philippines (LTP), which is now operating at a high tempo, serving Philippine Airlines and a range of third-party customers.

"The guys in Manila tell me that I don't have to sell anything, because for the next two years there's hardly any space, and that forces us to [improve] these capabilities," says Steinhoff.

That reflects a wider challenge in Asia-Pacific, which has forced LHT to reject some base and engine maintenance work for a lack of capacity, tooling and materials. Nonetheless, he believes the situation should improve sometime in 2019.

In the interim, discussions with its partner, MacroAsia Corporation, to add more capacity at LTP’s facilities are ongoing, with a decision expected to be made "soon". The MRO is also gearing up to maintain Airbus A350-900s and Boeing 777-300s for PAL.

But Steinhoff says that LHT will not move ahead with plans to launch a joint venture with Malaysia Airlines, a move first floated in 2016, which would have used the airline’s spare hangar capacity.

"The idea was for a high quality airline partner [to come] on board, to bring a certain baseline. And we with our strong sales force in the area to fill the huge hangar with external work, bringing all sorts of technical expertise to the table," he explains.

"If you don't have the capacity anymore, [and] the hangar capacity that you need for the growth, it doesn't make sense."

LHT's vice-president corporate sales for southeast Asia and Indian subcontinent Zang Thio says that there are new opportunities opening up for modifications, such as in-flight connectivity.

The MRO is part of a team led by local company Mahata Aero Teknologi working to install Inmarsat’s GX Aviation system to Garuda Indonesia’s Airbus A330s and Citilink’s A320s.

LHT will provide the supplemental type certificate, engineering, and hardware installation, while Lufthansa Systems will work on content integration.

Elsewhere in Asia, Lufthansa Technik Shenzhen is building up additional composites and component service capabilities. It repairs composites, engine parts and accessories, component and mobile engine services, as well as AOG material support and component pooling.

Source: Cirium Dashboard