Quality Made in Germany
Interview with Jan Grube, Head of Asia Sales VIP & Special Mission Aircraft; Lufthansa Technik
What are the most important aspects of a VIP completion?
Our main goal is to offer customers solutions tailored to their specific requirements. Exclusive cabin comfort which does not compromise the aircraft´s performance is critical. For example, during the concept phase of a new VIP cabin, our engineers will ensure that the cabin weight and balance enable the customer to fly critical operation legs. To provide maximum comfort in the cabin, a host of carefully-tuned noise reduction measures ensures passengers enjoy an “at home” feeling. The controlled noise level is also the prerequisite for enjoying the in-flight entertainment system, which is configured with the finest state-of-the-art components.
Besides specifying and delivering a VIP interior according to an owner’s needs, we also keep a watchful eye on the financial side of such projects, as this is also a key factor of success – meeting the client’s budget.
Overall, we want customers to feel satisfied and at home in their aircraft cabins, not only in the short term but also the long term. This requires constant refreshing and updating of the cabins. For this, we have developed special programs for cabin updates requiring minimum of effort. Projects differ from time to time: sometimes a new surface will suffice to give the cabin a completely new look, while sometimes a whole configuration change is necessary. It all depends on what a customer needs.
How do you incorporate state-of-the-art technology?
Lufthansa Technik has developed an excellent reputation when it comes to in-flight entertainment and communication systems for VIP aircraft. In close cooperation with customers, we not only select the most advanced systems on the worldwide market, but also continuously drive the development of our own products. A case in point would be the broadband internet solutions we offer. The new Two-In-One-Solution (TIOS) system houses two individual antennas on top of the vertical tail fin of Boeing Business Jets and serves as a superior solution in terms of performance, weight and aerodynamics. Some of our very own products have become industry standards and are even used by our competitors. From a design standpoint, we have developed a Mercedes Benz Style cabin design, where two major German brands met to combine their strengths in German design and engineering.
What support do you offer once a completion is finished?
Our service does not end at the point of delivery of the aircraft. With Lufthansa Technik as your partner clients can rely on our global technical support network. Whether it is an Aircraft-On-Ground event in Kenya, or a support event in Frankfurt – as one of the largest MRO providers, we are always present.
In Asia, our maintenance support is reinforced by Ameco — a 30-year-long partnership with Air China. A further dedicated cooperative effort is our MRO facility in Dubai launched together with DC Aviation. With these projects, ferry flights transporting customers from China or the Middle East to Europe for smaller maintenance events can be avoided and the costs thereof can thus be curtailed.
What is offered for special mission aircraft?
Special mission aircraft constitute the second element of our product range. Based on commercial aircraft designs, these military derivative airplanes feature special cabins and installations. Lufthansa Technik has proven such capability by providing dedicated technical support and specific modification services.
Aircraft incorporating dual or triple role functions is another solution. Such aircraft can serve either as a flying hospital, for VIP/Government missions or as a troop transport aircraft. We also offer VIP quick change kits which allow conversion from an airline aircraft for VIP missions within just a night shift. This flexibility provides an attractive alternative for special operators who demand efficiency.
What is the company doing to support its customers in Asia?
No other company has completed and delivered more VIP aircraft to customers in this region. This is reflected in our all-around activities in the region. Not only has Lufthansa Technik Group actively involved in Asia with our successful MRO facilities in Beijing, Shenzhen and Manila, it has also engaged in a special collaboration with Ameco Beijing, working to provide the best VIP aircraft maintenance services especially for Chinese customers who operate Airbus and Boeing types. The Memorandum of Understanding we signed at the ABACE exhibition in 2018 is now coming to life. At 2019’s ABACE we will present more news on the collaboration.
What is the company’s approach to each completion?
Being close to the customer and listening carefully are among the company’s most important principles. As such, our representatives in the Singapore and Hong Kong offices are always prepared to deliver quick and localized responses to customer inquiries. Understanding the customers’ needs is the very first step throughout a successful work process to generate a final product that fulfills each customer’s wishes perfectly.
And that is what we are aiming for.