Lufthansa Technik could decide on sale of Shannon business by mid-July

German-owned group reviewing Irish business following impact of Covid on travel

Lufthansa Technik has been in talks on a possible sale with Atlantic Aviation Group.

Lufthansa Technik has been in talks on a possible sale with Atlantic Aviation Group.

 

Aircraft maintenance specialist Lufthansa Technik could decide on a sale of its Shannon Airport business to local player Atlantic Aviation Group or another buyer, by mid-July.

Fears for the future of 503 Lufthansa Technik workers grew this week when the German-owned group confirmed it was reviewing the Irish business following the impact of worldwide Covid travel curbs on its industry.

The company is likely to make the outcome of the review, which could involve a sale, restructuring or closure, known by mid-July.

Lufthansa Technik has been in talks on a possible sale with Atlantic Aviation Group, another Shannon-based aircraft maintenance firm, which has been eyeing possible expansion opportunities.

Neither side would comment on the negotiations on Monday. Lufthansa Technik confirmed that Atlantic was one of several parties interested in buying its business.

Atlantic acknowledged that acquisition was part of its growth strategy. “With any acquisition process, the company would be bound by confidentiality agreements and respectfully cannot comment at this time,” said a spokesman.

Irish-owned Atlantic Aviation last year bought Flybe Aviation Services Ltd, which maintains cargo aircraft for the UK’s Royal Air Force, at Brize Norton in Oxfordshire in England.

Review

Lufthansa maintained that the review of its business was needed given the impact of the past 15 months on its business.

“This means putting all options on the table and examining them and we are looking at what changes, if any, need to be implemented to allow us to navigate one of the most difficult periods in our trading history,” said the company.

As recently as two years ago, Lufthansa Technik was slated to operate a new “minor” aircraft engine repair facility in Celbridge, Co Kildare with the potential to employ 150 people.

Michael McNamara, Clare independent TD, said he hoped a sale could rescue the business.

“Lufthansa Technik is served by a highly skilled workforce with many workers having been with the company for more than 20 years,” said Deputy McNamara.

Led by chief executive, Shane O’Neill, Atlantic Aviation, formerly known as Transaero, emerged from High Court protection in 2015 with an investment of €2.5 million from backer Patrick Jordan.

Existing clients include logistics group DHL, Ryanair, cargo specialist ASL Airlines, Star Air, Tui Group, Jet 2 and major aircraft lessors such as Gecas, Aer Cap, SMBC Aviation Capital, Aergo and Avolon.

The Brize Norton deal brought Atlantic Aviation’s total headcount to more than 400. The Irish business has 320 staff and 24 trainees, while the recently purchased British operation employs 112 people.

Atlantic Aviation has two hangars at Shannon. Its operations include maintaining, repairing and overhauling aircraft for airlines, continuous airworthiness management.

The company said earlier this year that it intended to continue expanding, despite the challenges posed by Covid to air travel.