Lufthansa Technik Grabs New Contract

Tuesday, May 6th 2008, 5:11 pm
By: News On 6

A Tulsa airline manufacturer hopes a new contract means expansion is around the corner.  Lufthansa Technik has started a 10-year agreement with JetBlue Airlines.  News On 6 anchor Scott Thompson reports the deal will have an impact on Tulsa.

Lufthansa has been in Tulsa since 2001.  Company leaders in Tulsa say this deal with JetBlue brings the immediate need for new jobs and add more opportunities are on the horizon.

Lufthansa Technik covers 100,000 square feet near 58th and Mingo.

"We maintain, repair, and overhaul composite parts and nacelles. So, all the parts that cover the engine," said Dr. Bernd Riggers, Tulsa CEO of Lufthansa Technik.

The Germany-based company has already started work on a 10 year partnership with JetBlue Airlines. Workers will be repairing the housing that covers the airplanes' jet engines.

 "With this facility we are very competitive within the market and it shows with Jet Blue as a low-cost operator choosing us and Lufthansa Tulsa," said Lufthansa Technik sales director Thorsten Mathur.

Lufthansa has three separate operations in Tulsa and employs close to 400 people. The company is contracted with several major airlines including United, Northwest, and Continental. The deal with JetBlue will have this facility repairing up to 50 engine coverings each year. 

"It's the first agreement that Lufthansa has with Jet Blue and we really see this as a starting point for additional business," said Dr. Bernd Riggers, Tulsa CEO of Lufthansa Technik.

Riggers says the plan is to double the size of the building in the next three years and continue to add jobs. The Tulsa Chamber of Commerce says the contract is evidence of the strength of the aerospace industry in Tulsa.

The chamber says there are 95 aerospace related companies in the area, providing between 15,000 and 17,000 jobs, including more than 5,300 in the engineering field. The numbers make the aerospace industry Tulsa's largest employer.

Lufthansa officials say they're not surprised, adding Tulsa is prime real estate in the airline industry.

"It all started in the 1920's when people flew in.  There was lots of activities here. All those people who came in with planes needed mechanics.  There's a long history here in the region," said Dr. Bernd Riggers, Tulsa CEO of Lufthansa Technik.

Riggers says the skilled workforce in Tulsa is another major reason for the industry's success here.  He adds Lufthansa will provide training to workers who already have a basic knowledge of the process.