Three weeks after Hurricane Maria had heavily devastated the island of Puerto Rico, Lufthansa Technik Puerto Rico (LTPR) redelivered their one hundredth heavy maintenance check for Spirit airlines, the launch customer for the facility.
“Thankfully all of our employees have been accounted for and while many have suffered from the consequences of hurricane Maria, all of them are safe and well”, said Pat Foley, CEO of LTPR. “This was the most important news for us. In addition, our hangar infrastructure while having some damage it was not damaged heavily. However as with the rest of the island we suffered from tremendous problems with electricity, water supply, IT and general communications.”
“In the past weeks many players helped us in our efforts to recover our operations in view of the ongoing desperate situation here in Puerto Rico. We would like to thank them all. Especially I would like to thank our customers Spirit, Jet Blue and also our colleagues from the whole Lufthansa group. Their support has been unique and without their relief flights the situation would have been become even worse for many people here who already had lost everything due to hurricane Maria.”
He added: “Despite the situation we have found ourselves in, it was the strong will of all employees to rise again and to come back to work as soon as possible. The motivation of the whole team has been extraordinary. And once again, I would like to thank our customers, on this occasion, for their unbroken trust and the time they have given us for our comeback despite their operational needs.”
After the hurricane left Puerto Rico, LTPR says the first focus for the management team was to contact it’s with employees, their families and customers which lasted several days due to the destroyed infrastructure on the island. In parallel they started to organize emergency support with Lufthansa Technik colleagues in the US and Europe. A special situation management team was established in the Lufthansa Technik Headquarters in Hamburg / Germany and some specialist support was sent to Puerto Rico with one of the first flights after the re-opening of Puerto Rico’s airports. They were accompanied by IT-, other technical and logistics experts and urgently needed technical equipment such as satellite communication systems. With the support of local and US-authorities, a variety of help organizations and especially the transport capacities of Spirit, Jet Blue and a Lufthansa Cargo aircraft, Lufthansa Technik was able to organize relief flights to Aguadilla airport within the first few days. More than 120 tons of food, water, toiletries generators and other emergency and basic equipment for employees and local communities have been delivered to Puerto Rico so far. One of LTPR’s maintenance lines is currently used as a “humanitarian bay”, where LTPR has facilitated the delivery of the different goods and supplies to the local communities through their municipalities. Lufthansa Technik Puerto Rico started its operation in July 2015 and has currently a workforce of 320 employees. In total, 128 maintenance events have been executed at LTPR so far. It is planned to further grow its workforce in 2017, therefore the company is still running a comprehensive training and recruitment program, together with local partners. The facility in Aguadilla extends over a total area of 215,000 square feet.