Lufthansa Technik is building a joint-venture overhaul shop with General Electric to service the engines powering Boeing 747-8s and the in-development 777X.

The two partners have signed a tentative agreement at Paris air show, though the closing of the deal will depends only on regulatory approval, says the German MRO group. Lufthansa operates 747-8s and has 777Xs on order, but third-party clients' engines will also be supported from the European facility.

While the precise location of the operation has still to be decided, a 2018 opening is targeted.

LHT’s own engine overhaul facilities – except for regional aircraft powerplants – have traditionally been at its base in Hamburg, where it has a shop for CFM International CFM56s and International Aero Engines V2500s plus a separate facility for large legacy types such as the CF6.

However, the latter operations have been downsized over recent years as a result of a declining overhaul volume for legacy engines.

N3 Engine Overhaul Services, LHT's joint venture with Rolls-Royce for the support of Trent series powerplants, is located near Erfurt in southeastern Germany.

Capability to overhaul the 777X-powering GE9X promises to give the new joint venture access to a large third-party customer market, but there appears to be limited potential for services on the GEnx-2B, which equips the 747-8. Flightglobal's Ascend Fleets database shows Boeing has gathered 116 orders for the 747-8. Eighty-four have been delivered. However, the manufacturer has gained nearly 300 firm orders for the 777X since that programme was launched in 2013. The 777X;s entry into service is scheduled for 2020.

The new site's GEnx capabilities will be focused on the -2B alone, LHT indicates when asked about their potential inclusion of the 787-powering -1B,

Nevertheless, Lufthansa Group chief Carsten Spohr says the joint venture will be central to the MRO provider’s plan to "significantly expand" its business for widebody engines.

The site will form part of GE's network of international repair facilities, and the two partners will co-operate on development of repairs and on-wing support services.

Source: Cirium Dashboard