N3 Engine Overhaul Services, a joint venture set up in Thuringia by Lufthansa Technik AG and Rolls-Royce plc to repair and overhaul aircraft engines, officially opened its brand new plant on 14 September, for the first time providing a glimpse of its activities. The showpiece was officially opened at the special ceremony attended by Wolfgang Tiefensee (German Minister of Transport, Construction and Urban Development), Dieter Althaus (Prime Minister of Thuringia) and State Secretary Dr Joachim Würmeling (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Technology). Lufthansa Technik AG and Rolls-Royce plc have invested about ?100 million in N3's site at the "Erfurter Kreuz" industrial estate - and the result is one of the most advanced maintenance facilities in the world for large civil aircraft engines. N3 specializes in overhauling Rolls-Royce Trent 500, 700 and 900 engines, which power Airbus A340, A330 and A380 aircraft.
N3 was granted approval to operate as an EASA Part 145 maintenance facility for Rolls-Royce Trent 500 engines by the European Aviation Safety Agency in early April. N3's 270 staff are currently servicing Rolls-Royce Trent 500 engines belonging to the Lufthansa fleet as well as to other European and African airlines. The test cell was first used in July. Since April 2007, N3 has taken delivery of more than 10 turbofan engines. In fact, the first engineshave already been overhauled and left the plant following exhaustive testing.
N3 expects to receive approval to overhaul Trent 700 engines in 2008. In 2009, the N3 team will also start servicing the Trent 900 engines which powers the A380, the biggest passenger plane in the world. Apart from its existing customers, N3 will also begin serving other airlines in Europe, America, Africa and the CIS.
"Everything's going to plan at N3," said August Wilhelm Henningsen, Chairman of Lufthansa Technik AG, and member of N3' supervisory board. "The completion of construction in record time shows that choosing Arnstadt as the location for N3 was the right decision. What the N3 team has achieved so far is magnificent. As a result, we have been able to develop another high-tech overhaul facility within our global network with all together 27 companies."
Wolfgang Mayrhuber, Chairman of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, added: "The example of N3 Engine Overhaul Services demonstrates that companies will create highly qualified jobs in Germany given the right environment. 500 newly created jobs at N3 will give the region an enormous boost."
"N3 extends Rolls-Royce's worldwide maintenance network for Trent engines and underlines the huge importance of services for Rolls-Royce," declares Miles Cowdry, Chairman of N3's supervisory board and President Services of Rolls-Royce.
"Today's ceremony in many ways symbolizes both the resurgence of German high value added manufacturing and the benefits of international collaboration," said Sir John Rose, Rolls-Royce Chief Executive, in his opening speech. "Together with the excellent support and commitment Rolls-Royce receives from our political partners in the regional and federal governments, the positive environment in Germany will in my view secure the success of this important new facility."
So far, N3 has created more than 270 modern, highly qualified jobs in Thuringia - a figure set to rise to around 500 by 2010. About 120 future colleagues are currently being trained. In total, N3's 500 vacancies attracted some 11,700 applications. The team at N3 is made up of eleven different nationalities from four continents. Nevertheless, more than 80 per cent of N3 staff come from the local region of Thuringia - the most central of the sixteen federal states making up Germany. N3 is an attractive company, which has encouraged many engineers originally from Thuringia to return to their roots. These 'homecomers' accounting for about 15% of all the staff. They seized the opportunity to use their expertise to help mould a modern company right from the word go.
At a time when the shortage of skilled labour is growing, N3 will train young people internally and also enter into partnership with nearby universities and colleges. For example, in September 2007, N3 began putting new recruits through an industrial business training programme. Meanwhile, preparations for a new commercial and technical training course for aircraft mechanics specializing in turbofan engines due to start in September 2008 have already been started. Vocational training at N3 offers excellent conditions to young applicants keen to learn and work in an internationally active company.
N3 continues to expand its ties with regional universities and colleges. It already helps young people studying mainly technical subjects to gain initial experience of working in aviation through a programme of internships, work experience and supervising undergraduate dissertations. This gives students a unique chance to apply their theoretical knowledge in a challenging, international, technical environment.
N3 also intends to continue its successful collaboration with local job centres and training establishments in order to ensure that the company's demand for specialists and management can continue to be met. N3's internal training programmes are to be augmented by other opportunities for focused part-time further training.
N3 continues to offer experienced engineers and keen beginners challenging and interesting responsibilities in the fields of production planning, quality management, aero-engine servicing, component repair and customer care, as well as the planning and testing of materials. N3 prepares new recruits for their future tasks in individual familiarization programmes including work experience with both shareholders, Lufthansa Technik AG and Rolls-Royce plc.
N3 Engine Overhaul Services GmbH & Co. KG
N3 Engine Overhaul Services is a joint venture between Lufthansa Technik AG and Rolls-Royce plc. Based in the Thuringian town of Arnstadt in central Germany, N3 was set up in 2003 and went into operation in its brand new plant in early April 2007. N3 was named after the distinctive Rolls-Royce aircraft engine design featuring three shafts rotating at different speeds. N3 is the only facility in Europe to overhaul Rolls-Royce Trent 500, Trent 700 and Trent 900 engines, which power the Airbus A340, A330 and A380 aircraft. The company serves customers in the core markets Europe, America, Africa and the CIS. N3 is one of the world's most advanced aircraft engine overhaul centres. The Repair & Overhaul Shop measures 25,000 square metres (270,000 square feet) and has been fitted with state-of-the-art machinery and systems, ranging from areas used to strip and build engines and modules, cleaning and crack test departments, and component repair workshops to one of the biggest, most efficient and cleanest test cells worldwide. By 2010, the number of highly qualified jobs created at Arnstadt will reach around 500.
During the course of 2007 and 2008, N3's first two years of operation, N3 Engine Overhaul Services will overhaul about 130 large turbofan engines. Its throughput will subsequently rise to some 200 engines annually. In addition to aircraft engine overhaul, N3 will shortly also start offering repair services for individual engine components.