Interview with Lufthansa Technik AG

Mr Michael Hartig, On-site Representative, Lufthansa Technik AG


In early 2016, HAECO Xiamen celebrated an important milestone with the redelivery of the 100th aircraft input to Lufthansa Technik AG. Since the first D-Check performed for the German engineering company in July 2002, Lufthansa Technik has commissioned the Mainland China-based MRO to perform C-Check, D-Check and cabin modifications on more than 100 aircraft. The HAECO Group e-newsletter editorial team invited Mr Michael Hartig, an on-site representative for Lufthansa Technik AG and a long-time friend of HAECO, to share his views on his MRO partner in Xiamen. 


Q. Can you share with our readers your experience of working with HAECO Xiamen over the past 15 years? 


A. Since the first Boeing 747-400 D-check we commissioned HAECO Xiamen to undertake in 2002, a close business partnership has been fostered between Lufthansa Technik and HAECO Xiamen. HAECO Xiamen has been a key, regular partner for Lufthansa Technik AG in Mainland China, providing professional services for our Boeing 747 fleets from the 747-400 to the newer 747-8. In the past 15 years, more than 100 Lufthansa Technik AG aircraft have benefitted from the professional workmanship and competitive turnaround times that HAECO Xiamen offers. Engineers here possess extensive experience and expertise in Boeing 747 aircraft, as well as other wide-body types. I look forward to working with HAECO Xiamen on additional scheduled checks and overhaul projects in the future. 


Q. Lufthansa Technik AG is one of the world’s leading players in the industry, what attributes do you consider crucial for an MRO?


A. Lufthansa Technik’s priority is always quality. Consistent and competitive turnaround time is also crucial; furthermore, well-thought cost control is always one of the key factors for airlines when choosing an MRO partner. HAECO Xiamen has managed to strike a very good balance in controlling costs for us during heavy maintenance checks, cabin retrofits and structural modifications.


In 2015, HAECO Xiamen completed seven Boeing 747-400 cabin retrofits, three Boeing 747-400 heavy maintenance checks, and 18 Boeing 747-8 cabin warranty repairs. All these successful projects are a testament to HAECO’s continued efforts in quality improvement, additional capabilities and world-class customer services.


Q. Since the business partnership between Lufthansa Technik AG and HAECO Group began in 2002, what do you think are the key factors that have helped this relationship endure?


A. I have been a regular here in Xiamen since 2002. Through years of experience and observation, I think the key to our enduring business partnership is that both parties make dedicated efforts in respect of quality, redelivery time and cost control for all of the projects performed here. Work apart, I appreciate the HAECO Xiamen team for their hospitality and transportation support, which have made staying and getting around in Xiamen a lot easier and more enjoyable. Occasional gatherings with the HAECO team and festive celebrations have also enhanced communication and trust between the two teams. Personally I have enjoyed my stay in Xiamen, and I believe so have my teammates. 


Q. What challenges do you face at work here in Xiamen? How do you see HAECO Xiamen’s role in helping you meet these challenges?


A. One of my key responsibilities as an on-site representative is to oversee Lufthansa Technik AG projects that are taking place here. And one of the challenges I face daily is solving ad-hoc problems, and tackling other obstacles to ensure on-time redelivery of aircraft. Lufthansa Technik AG adheres to the highest standards in terms of quality and efficiency, which means that our partners are expected to carry out large amounts of work in tight time frames. HAECO Xiamen benefits from a large pool of manpower resources, as well as superb engineering and project management skills — the end result is high levels of efficiency that have helped make my life easier! Another challenge is presented by the cooperation of two teams from different cultures; for example, Christmas is our most important festival, whilst Chinese New Year has a dominant importance in the lives of locals. When projects spanned across these festive occasions, some compromises had to be reached between the teams. Happily, our completion targets have always been met in the past years - thanks to joint efforts from both sides.


Q. What has impressed you most in your 15 years of cooperation with HAECO Xiamen? 


A. It is the HAECO Xiamen team’s capabilities and expertise on the Boeing 747 series. HAECO Xiamen possesses extensive experience on the aircraft type, from scheduled maintenance to structures, to cabin works, they are always able to deliver a satisfactory outcome within a competitive turnaround time.


Q. From your point of view, what are the challenges that HAECO Xiamen faces? And what would be its opportunities ahead?


A. In my view, HAECO Xiamen’s major strengths are workmanship and turnaround times. It is important for HAECO Xiamen to maintain these high standards, and continue its quest for quality excellence. And to enhance its service offering as a one-stop MRO service provider, the company may want to consider further developing its engineering and component capabilities. Furthermore, it is important that HAECO Xiamen stays abreast of the latest developments in widebody aircraft types, so that its well-established relationships with long-term customers can be carried through the evolution of aircraft. 


Q. In 2015 alone you spent more than 10 months in Mainland China, what is your view on China today?


A. As previously mentioned, I had been a regular in Xiamen and many other cities in China; over the years China has simply become my second home. I never get tired staying here nor do I feel homesick. I do regret not having learned the language, however.


I had worked in many cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Xiamen and so on. I have found people in China always friendly and welcoming; the food here was very delicious too – I especially like spicy Sichuanese cuisines!