Israir Airlines and Lufthansa Technik are setting up an aircraft maintenance business at Ben-Gurion International Airport to service Israir planes and later foreign carriers’ jets as well.
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Lufthansa Technik, once the engineering division of Germany’s Lufthansa, is now an independent company.
The deal, worth more than $4 million annually, went into effect at the beginning of the month. It marks the first time the Civil Aviation Authority has let a foreign company provide aircraft maintenance services in Israel.
The link-up was made possible by last year’s Open Skies agreement with the European Union that liberalized the industry for flights to and from Israel. El Al Israel Airlines and Israel Aerospace Industries had been the only two companies providing maintenance service at Ben-Gurion.
The new venture will service Israir’s Airbus A-320s, two of which are in use and a third is on order. Israir CEO Uri Sirkis says the two companies will also service foreign discount carriers, which are just starting business here.
Lufthansa Technik will maintain a crew of about 10 people, who will be provided housing in Israel. Initially, they will maintain Israir planes and train the airline’s maintenance staff.