After delays due to the pandemic, Lufthansa Technik Philippines (LTP) is pushing through with its USD40-million investments for its new hangar in the country.
In a virtual press briefing Wednesday, LTP president and chief executive officer Elmar Lutter said the company is now constructing the Hangar 1A, which is up for completion in the first quarter of 2022.
Lutter said the hangar construction alone costs USD20 million, while the other USD20-million investments for tools and auxiliary will be invested in the first half of next year.
“The recent easing of travel restrictions around the world, including the Philippines, has brought back demand. Our hangars are much again full and we have a line of customer airlines waiting to be served by our very able Filipino workforce that has spent the last two years preparing, training, and expanding their skills for this moment,” he said.
LTP announced the investment plans for the new hangar in 2019, and the initial plan to start the operation was set in September last year.
However, the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic has curtailed demand for maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) services for aircrafts.
Lutter said the company downsized its workforce to 80 percent due to the impacts of the pandemic, but it will start rehiring aviation mechanics and staff soon to support the initial production and capacity of Hangar 1A.
“LTP is stepping out of the darkness and we see the future now brightly,” he added.
Lufthansa’s fourth hangar in the Philippines will expand LTP’s capacity by 25 percent and will create 270 jobs.
It will provide base and line maintenance to commercial aircrafts, such as Airbus A320, A330, A350, and A370 as well as Boeing 777.
In the same briefing, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez has welcomed LTP’s confidence in the Philippine aviation industry amid the ongoing global health and economic crisis.
“While much of the world’s aviation industry has been paralyzed by the pandemic, we are proud to note that as we gradually ease the travel restrictions, Lufthansa Technik AG along with MacroAsia Corporation is on its way back to normal operations with expanded capacity to accommodate the servicing needs of an increasing number of aircraft,” Lopez said.
He lauded LTP for pushing through its expansion plans in the country, adding the new investment will provide support for the Philippine aviation industry.
Lopez added the government continues to provide support to the industry, as well as managing the risks brought by the pandemic to bring back air passenger demand.
“President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has already directed us to boost our all-out support for the business sector to help in its rehabilitation so that all of us, especially the business and aviation sector, can become stronger and more resilient in the post-pandemic future,” he said.