| Lufthansa Technik has registered a further year's growth. Turnover reached 5.9 billion Euro, up 9.5%, and operational result 425 million Euro, up 2.4%. Above all, the MRO provider won 576 new contracts worth 5 billion Euro.
But according to its president Johannes Bussmann, the most important point when it comes to judging the health of the activity is the number of aircraft it services. From this point of view there are no concerns. Lufthansa Technik is now working on 5 131 planes (+12.6%), which means that it has had 20% of the worldwide fleet under its wing for the last five years.
Its three most dynamic markets are still, in order, the Europe-Middle East (EMEA) region, the Americas and the Asia Pacific region. Growth was particularly impressive in the United States (turnover +20%, in particular thanks to the contract for WestJet's 787s) and in EMEA (+9%). Here growth was mainly driven by the integration of Air Berlin's fleet into the Lufthansa group's fleet (outside the group the increase is 7%).
However, operational margin was eroded, levelling out at 7.2%, in particular due to the significant investments made by the company. These investments reached 241 million Euro in 2018 and this increase should continue in 2019 since they are due to rise to 265 million Euro. In particular, Lufthansa Technik is investing in new sites, notably in Poland and in Hungary, in digitisation and in its equipment and hardware in order to adapt to the new technologies which are coming on stream.
Effort to be made in training
Johannes Bussmann indicated that one of the difficulties that Lufthansa Technik is encountering, along with its competitors, is in recruiting. Specific effort must be made in training to achieve the vital increase in staff numbers needed to respond to growth but also to cover retirements (4% replaced each year). Over 3 000 new members of staff will need to be recruited over the next four years, with a million in Germany alone and 200 in Shenzhen (so a third of the site's current number). Staff numbers in Africa will increase by 20% and in America should triple.
But it takes ten years to have a technician who is able to declare a plane fit to fly (between the initial training and actually carrying out the work). A host of new communication campaigns will soon be launched, with active sourcing, the use of social networks or community partnerships (notably in the United States). The recruitment of more women is also a major objective for the company (where women currently make up 8 to 10% of its workforce).
Apprenticeship is already being developed and 122 new apprentices joined the company in Germany in 2018. At the same time, investment is also being made in continuing training in order to develop skills.
Lufthansa Technik launches the Aviation DataHub
We know Lufthansa Technik as a driving force in new solutions. Two years after the launch of Aviatar, the company has identified a new need in aeronautical communication: free access to all the data generated by aviation. And so the Aviation DataHub was created last week. Going further than Aviator, it combines data from all its members to avoid redundancy between the different sources. This means that it is open to everyone - airlines, aircraft manufacturers, engine suppliers, equipment manufacturers and MRO companies - to combine technical data, flight data and ground data. All they need to do is sign up.
"It is an open, neutral platform whose purpose is not to make money but to make savings. Aviatar will be the main customer, but the objective is for its investment to be greatly reduced", exceeded by the number of members and shareholders, explains Johannes Bussmann. Discussions have already been launched with potential future partners.