Air France and Lufthansa Technik join forces to supply spare parts for giant airliner

Air France Industries and Lufthansa Technik (LHT) have fleshed out details of their component support joint venture for operators of the Airbus A380 ultra-large aircraft, predicting the market will be dominated by a few combined players due to the need for economies of scale.

The new company, Spairliners, will be headquartered in Hamburg, with its main spares base at Paris Charles de Gaulle. The company is independent and will be responsible for its own inventory.

Spairliners will support both parent carriers’ combined 25-aircraft A380 fleet, but the aim is to extend this to third parties. The company will be operational from entry into service of the first aircraft, says LHT chairman August Henningsen. The reason for two of Europe’s largest maintenance, repair and overhaul providers joining forces is to minimise spares support costs, he adds. “The availability of components has to be high because you do not know the reliability of spares, unlike, say the Boeing 747, where you have 20 years of history,” he says.

“This all-around suppport offer allows future A380 operators to have the right components in the right place at the right time,” says Alain Bassil, president of Air France Industries.

Spairliners is talking to the launch customers of the A380 and expects to have its first third-party customer signed by the third quarter. Hopes of a deal with launch operator Singapore Airlines were dashed in April when SIA Engineering formed the Aerospace Component Engineering Services venture with Parker Hannifin to handle spare parts requirements.

The LHT/Air France Industries venture aims to establish regional stock centres at its first customers, with sites in the USA, the Gulf region and Asia Pacific earmarked.

Source: Flight International