The fledgling commercial relationship between Etihad Airways and Lufthansa deepened after the German aviation group’s maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) unit received an aircraft engine component from the Abu Dhabi carrier at its facility in Dubai South.
At the beginning of this month, Lufthansa Technik agreed to work together with Etihad Airways Engineering.
Jeff Wilkinson, Etihad Airways Engineering’s chief executive, said that the deal signalled a “start on the next stage of our journey”.
“Partnering with Lufthansa Technik complements our own business model, ensuring faster turnaround time of our off-wing components,” he said.
Lufthansa Technik Middle East is repairing a GE90 engine inlet cowl from Etihad at its facility in the “aerospace supply chain” in Dubai South’s Aviation District.
It is the first MRO company to begin operations in the district.
The MRO tie-up was part of a larger deal between Etihad Aviation Group and Lufthansa to explore cooperation in a number of areas, including freight operations, procurement and passenger services, to improve their competitive offering globally and in the European market.
Lufthansa’s LSG Sky Chefs will also provide catering services to Etihad in 16 cities across Europe, Asia and the Americas in a four-year, US$100 million deal.
The two airline groups have also begun operating a codeshare for flights between Abu Dhabi and Germany, with Etihad set to move its operations into Lufthansa’s facilities at Frankfurt and Munich airports.
The closer ties between the two groups was made possible after Lufthansa agreed to a six-year wet-lease of 38 airberlin aircraft at the end of last year.
That deal thawed sometimes-frosty relations between Lufthansa and Etihad, which holds a 29 per cent stake in airberlin, amid heated competition in the European aviation market.
Lufthansa Technik will provide MRO services to a wide range of customers from its Dubai South base.
“Having a key presence in the Aviation District has put us in a prime position as a leader in the aerospace supply chain sphere,” said Ziad Al Hazmi, the chief executive of Lufthansa Technik Middle East.
The developer behind Dubai South hopes that its proximity to Al Maktoum International Airport and the adjacent port at Jebel Ali will attract companies in the MRO and aerospace industries to achieve its ambition of creating an aviation ecosystem.
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