Suspending operations doesn’t mean everything stops

Colleagues show spirit of solidarity, at the customer’s service around the world and helping the coronavirus helpers. Plus: What does a road trip through Australia have to do with this?

04.2020 | Text: Thorsten Rienth

Text:
Thorsten Rienth writes as a freelance journalist for AEROREPORT. In addition to the aerospace industry, his technical writing focuses on rail traffic and the transportation industry.

Following a three-week suspension of operations, MTU is gradually ramping up activities at its German sites and in Poland. First up are the company headquarters in Munich starting April 20, initially with short-time working. Germany’s leading engine manufacturer will then progressively increase its capacities, according to customer demand and the situation in the supply chain.

The two other German sites, MTU Maintenance Hanover and MTU Maintenance Berlin-Brandenburg, will follow suit one week later. Some of the international maintenance locations are already back to operating at a high level. Others are responding very flexibly, to suit customer needs and demand. In some areas, work continued despite the suspension of operations.

Spirit of solidarity – relief fund for hardship among colleagues

Extensive measures have been put in place across all sites to protect employees’ health during the ramp-up phase and afterward. These include technical and organizational measures at the actual workstations, but also regarding the daily workflow and processes. At MTU Maintenance Zhuhai, for example, the food is prepared centrally in the cafeteria. Each department has now designated one person who will collect the food for their colleagues.

Protective measures: Protective masks are worn at MTU Maintenance Zhuhai when arriving at and leaving the premises, and regular body temperature checks are carried out.

Short-time working can lead to cases of particular hardship among colleagues, so MTU moved swiftly to set up a solidarity relief fund, which has accrued more than four million euros to date. The Executive Board and well over 90 percent of senior management have waived a significant slice of their variable remuneration for the past financial year. “This solidarity fund enables us to help ensure that we all share the burden,” says MTU CEO Reiner Winkler.

**Protective masks:** The MTU handed over protective masks to Bavarian hospitals and the Brandenburg chapter of the German Red Cross. Hover over the image for a bigger view

Protective masks: The MTU handed over protective masks to Bavarian hospitals and the Brandenburg chapter of the German Red Cross.

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Protective masks: The MTU handed over protective masks to Bavarian hospitals and the Brandenburg chapter of the German Red Cross.

MTU was also directly involved in fighting the pandemic through support and donations. The Munich site, for example, provided 50,000 protective masks for use in Bavarian emergency facilities and hospitals. This was possible because MTU always keeps protective masks in stock, further masks were due to arrive and there was sufficient equipment available for emergency operations. MTU Maintenance Berlin-Brandenburg handed over 10,000 masks to the Brandenburg chapter of the German Red Cross. The donation was mainly put to use in Brandenburg’s care facilities.

Staff at MTU Aero Engines Polska based in Rzeszów took part in a fundraising campaign for the nearby hospital in Lańcut. This is one of the clinics in Poland providing intensive care for COVID-19 patients. “It’s important to think first and foremost of the people working in hospitals and care settings, who are giving their all. They’re the ones under the greatest pressure right now,” says managing director Krystof Zuzak.

Always at the customer’s service

The maintenance requirements of engines and industrial gas turbines (IGT) don’t change because there’s a pandemic. That’s why MTU Maintenance Dallas concentrated its activities on its cargo customers–ensuring their fleets could continue to fly and thereby safeguarding the transport of urgently required goods. Our colleagues at MTU Maintenance Lease Services (MLS) with offices in Amsterdam, Singapore, Dublin, Dubai and Hannover have also been active throughout. They’ve been engaged in fleet and asset management as well as the distribution of engine components, all while working from home.

MTU’s strategy of digitalization, significantly expanded during recent years, has paid off over these past few weeks. The Munich training team was just one of the departments in which this became evident during the suspension of operations. Tasks and corrections traveled between instructors and trainees via Skype, Teams, WhatsApp and WebEx.

**Digitalization:** The Munich training team communicates via Skype and WebEx. Hover over the image for a bigger view

Digitalization: The Munich training team communicates via Skype and WebEx.

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Digitalization: The Munich training team communicates via Skype and WebEx.

**Skeleton crew:** Small teams carry out the most important tasks for our customers. Hover over the image for a bigger view

Skeleton crew: Small teams carry out the most important tasks for our customers.

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Skeleton crew: Small teams carry out the most important tasks for our customers.

Of course, practical work on machines can’t simply be replaced. At the operational facility in Erding, work for our military customers carried on with a skeleton crew. In the commercial segment, assembly of the PW1100G-JM engine continued apace, as did the component maintenance for the V2500.

Steve Walkingshaw from MTU’s IGT Field Service in Australia even drove 2000 kilometers to serve a customer—driving from Mount Gambier in the state of South Australia all the way to Alice Springs at the heart of the country to carry out urgent tasks on an industrial gas turbine.

Helping the helpers, or MTU technology at work

MTU Maintenance Berlin Brandenburg primarily focused on swiftly completing repairs on a PW206B2 engine. The engine belongs to an Airbus H135P2 rescue helicopter of the Finnish company Skärgardshavets Helikoptertjänst AB. The customer specializes in medical emergency helicopter flights and is therefore in high demand during the pandemic. The MTU staff at Ludwigsfelde received the following feedback: “Many thanks for your excellent work!”

Helping the helpers: Repair work on a PW206B2 engine was completed as swiftly as possible.

MTU was also involved in the medevac (medical evacuation) operations of the German Armed Forces, working on the CF6-80C and TP400-D6 engines for the Airbus A310 and Airbus A400M aircraft that have been converted into flying intensive care units. These were used to transport coronavirus patients from Italy and France to Germany for medical treatment.

While the medevac version of the A310 is widely known thanks to numerous years in service, the Airbus A400M model is still largely unknown in this context: the German Armed Forces put the first of four ICAE (Intensive Care Aeromedical Evacuation) conversions into operation in August 2018. The on-board medical team on such aircraft can take care of two intensive care patients, two intermediate care patients and two patients classed as low care.

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