Germany: Commercial Aviation Stagnates, Lufthansa Decides to Get into Defense Industry

Armed conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East boost Germany's defense business

Lufthansa Technik (LHT), a subsidiary of Germany’s national airline, wants to seize the opportunities of the arms race and offers itself to the German and European defense industry as an effective player. While the development of commercial aviation is slowing down, Lufthansa has decided to focus on arming, repairing and equipping military aircraft.

In an interview with German newspaper Handelsblatt, Lufthansa Technik CEO Soeren Stark said: “We want to work on weapons and military personnel transportation systems. Of course, this is a new direction for the company. But for decades, part of our DNA has been understanding and operationally supporting new airplanes and their technologies.” In an article titled “Lufthansa Focuses on Armaments,” the newspaper notes that “so far, the LHT has only assisted civilian aircraft, including those used by Germany’s Air Force.” The plan will allow Lufthansa to enter the Bundeswehr’s $100 billion program: as part of the Luftwaffe order, LHT is already bidding for the maintenance and repair of 30 US F-35 fighter-bombers and 60 Boeing Chinook helicopters, transport aircraft.

Increased production of armaments and military equipment allowed German engineering companies to increase orders by 10% in April compared to March 2024. According to a spokesman for the German industry association VDMA, “this is the first increase in orders in a year and a half.” The mechanical engineering industry, which is considered the backbone of the German economy, employs more than one million people and has an annual turnover of more than 200 billion euros. This industry mainly includes medium-sized companies, as well as large listed companies, such as ThyssenKrupp (warships and submarines), Rheinmetall (Leopard 2 tanks and other armored vehicles), and Siemens.