Sunday, March 13, 2011

AirAsia X Adds Airframe MRO at LHT Philippines

Long-haul, low-cost carrier AirAsia X has decided to renew a supplemental airframe maintenance agreement with Lufthansa Technik Philippines in Manila, covering light C checks on its Airbus fleet. The extension suggests Lufthansa Technik Philippines’ tactics for retaining the region’s low-cost carriers as customers are working.

The new contract expands a three-year base maintenance agreement signed last year, which already provided C checks, a heavy maintenance check, cabin retrofits and painting services for nine AirAsia X Airbus A330s and two A340s.

In announcing the extension, Anaz Ahmad Tajuddin, head of engineering for the airline, says that “The teamwork and partnership we receive from Lufthansa Technik Philippines has ensured proven reliability of our aircraft thus far.”

When Aviation Week spoke with Tajuddin last October, he described his strategy for airframe maintenance as an area where he sees opportunities for cost advantages (O&M, November 2010, p. 22.) In the past, he said, AirAsia X sent C checks to Sasco in the Philippinnes, but in 2010, it sent all six C checks to LHT Philippines.

At the time, he said he was still in discussion with MROs for 2011 arrangements. “We do not keep all of our eggs in one basket,” he said. “By doing that, we keep the MROs on their toes.”

But LHT Philippines has been making moves to retain work for low-cost carriers, whose numbers are growing rapidly in SE Asia. To meet customer needs, Lufthansa Technik Philippines planned to convert one of its hangars into an LCC operations center, said Dominik Wiener-Silva, VP marketing and sales. “We have to align our business to these guys to really support them in what they are doing.”

Neha Jain

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