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Diehl and LHT deepen ties to serve aftermarket

Lufthansa Technik and Diehl Aviation intend to intensify their co-operation and jointly provide cabin equipment and modifications, particularly for the retrofit market.

The two companies previously partnered for the development of a rearranged rear galley-lavatory complex for Airbus A320-family jets – in order to raise the aircraft's seat capacity – and a redesigned bar module.

LHT says the partners now intend to put their co-operation on "a much broader footing" and to cover the "entire value chain for products – from the first idea to construction through to installation, approval and the logistics process".

Henning Jochmann, senior director of engineering at LHT's aircraft overhaul and modification unit, states: "While Diehl Aviation has unique know-how when it comes to producing cabin elements, Lufthansa Technik is the expert for modification programmes, approval processes, repairs and logistics.

"Together, we also have considerable potential in the areas of development and engineering."

LHT describes the tie-up as a partnership "of equals".

Production of supplier-furnished equipment (SFE) for airframers represents three-quarters of Diehl Aviation's business activity, chief executive Rainer von Borstel told FlightGlobal at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg on 10 April.

The remainder includes the regular sale of spare parts, and von Borstel says he wants the manufacturer to become more involved with the design and manufacture of bespoke cabin equipment for airlines seeking to upgrade their fleets.

Airframers have made efforts to standardise production and shrink the range of buyer-furnished equipment (BFE) in order to reduce assembly-line complexity, especially as aircraft output is being ramped up.

However, von Borstel also sees a trend among airlines – especially large carriers – to customise cabins as a means of differentiating themselves from competitors.

This represents an opportunity for Diehl to grow its business with airlines, says von Borstel.

"If there is a trend of customisation... we are prepared for it," he adds.

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