Lufthansa Technik Philippines completes first A380 12-year check

An Airbus A380 parked at Lufthansa Technik Philippines maintenance hangar
Photo Credit: Lufthansa Technik

For the first time in its history, Lufthansa Technik Philippines (LTP) in Manila has completed a twelve-year check on an Airbus A380, supporting the return of the world’s largest passenger aircraft to the fleet of Lufthansa Airlines.

The 12-year check is a major maintenance action which involves the inspection of several key structural items, including the complete replacement of landing gear assemblies.

At the same time Lufthansa Technik engineering cruise implemented all airworthiness directives (ADs) issued by the manufacturer Airbus during the long inactivity of the aircraft. 

The Aircraft Twelve-Year Checks…

As one might expect, the 12-year maintenance check for an aircraft is a rather complicated and extended deeper maintenance check.

Compared to the less extensive three- or six-year checks that Lufthansa Airlines’ first four reactivated Airbus A380s also underwent at LTP, the scheduled twelve-year check involves much more intensive inspections of the aircraft structure. 

During the twelve-year check, LTP undertook a series of detailed inspections and replacements to ensure the A380’s continued airworthiness.

This involved the meticulous examination of various aircraft components, including the landing gear assemblies and engines, to assess their condition and performance.


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Landing Gear Replacement

A significant component of the twelve-year check is the complete replacement of the landing gear assemblies. The Airbus A380 configuration consists of five individual gear assemblies with a total of 22 wheels.

These critical assemblies, which naturally bear the brunt of the aircraft’s weight during takeoff and landing, must undergo rigorous inspection and overhaul to maintain optimal functionality and safety standards.

After a dozen years, these highly stressed components, which have to absorb a maximum take-off weight of up to 560 tons on a fully loaded A380, have essentially reached the end of their scheduled service life. 

Engine Inspections

The removal and detailed inspections of the Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines were also integral to the twelve-year check process.

The engines themselves, with a diameter of around three meters at the air intake and a dry weight of more than six metric tons, will only undergo minor inspections, in line with their remaining service life.

By temporarily removing the engines, engineers are able to conduct thorough examinations of the wings and engine mounts, ensuring structural integrity and performance reliability.

Modifications and Airworthiness Directives

In addition to inspections and replacements, LTP addressed various modifications and airworthiness directives (AD) issued by Airbus during the aircraft’s inactivity.

These actions are crucial for maintaining compliance with regulatory standards and ensuring the aircraft’s readiness for service.

Workforce: Full House in Manila

The successful completion of the twelve-year check required the expertise of over 100 aircraft mechanics, highlighting the substantial workforce and resources involved in such endeavors.

Furthermore, the increasing demand for maintenance services, particularly for the A380, underscores the critical role of facilities like LTP in supporting global aviation operations.

Despite its more than 42,000 flying hours and over 4,300 flight cycles, “Mike Charlie” is now almost ready for its return to active scheduled service with Lufthansa Airlines, until its next, significantly smaller, base maintenance check.

With D-AIMH “Mike Hotel”, which was transferred from Frankfurt to Manila on February 11, the next twelve-year check on an A380 is now already underway at LTP.

Future Prospects

Looking ahead, the completion of the twelve-year check heralds a promising future for Lufthansa Technik Philippines and similar maintenance facilities.

“The return of the A380 to the fleets of many airlines has also boosted demand for maintenance services enormously.”

“We are benefiting quite well from this with our A380 expertise here in Manila, that we recently even expanded with the third overhaul line,” explains Elmar Lutter, Chief Executive Officer of Lufthansa Technik Philippines.

“In view of the delays in the delivery of numerous new wide-body aircraft, I am certain that services for the A380 will remain an integral part of our portfolio for years to come.”

With the resurgence of air travel post-pandemic, the demand for maintenance services, especially for large aircraft like the A380, is thus expected to remain robust.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 5 Min Read
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