Success story with a new chapter: N3 Engine Overhaul Services starts extensive expansion during ongoing operations

Arnstadt, December 14th 2023. N3 Engine Overhaul Services (N3), the joint venture between Lufthansa Technik AG and Rolls-Royce plc. for the overhaul and repair of Rolls-Royce Trent aircraft engines, is extensively expanding its building complex at the Erfurter Kreuz. Over the next two years, new factory areas will be constructed, existing buildings extended, machinery and equipment procured and new, flexible working methods introduced in the office areas. The number of employees will be increased from the current 900 to 1,200 skilled workers.

The parent companies Lufthansa Technik and Rolls-Royce are investing around 150 million euros in the site. The expansion is being supported by the State Development Corporation of Thuringia and the Ministry of Economics, as well as the local authorities of the city of Arnstadt and the Ilm district. The project will further establish N3 as an important European location in the global maintenance network for Rolls-Royce aircraft engines and create hundreds of new jobs.

"We are opening a new chapter in the German-British success story of N3 at Erfurter Kreuz," N3 Managing Director Carsten Behrens emphasises. "Our business picked up speed again very quickly in 2022 after the coronavirus years. In spring 2022, we flipped the switch from crisis to growth. N3 has enormous growth potential, because the demand for engine overhauls in the Rolls-Royce network is huge for the coming decades."

The company's capacity will be ramped up to overhaul 250 engines per year. N3 is currently able to service in the existing set-up with 900 employees around 160 engines per year. In 2023, N3 will overhaul around 140 engines, and by 2024 this figure is expected to rise to almost 200. "The extensive expansion during ongoing operations with increasing capacity utilisation and many new employees is a challenge for the entire team," says Behrens. "We therefore have set up our own project organisation with around 50 internal and external experts for the expansion."

Markus Siptroth, the previous Production Manager at N3, has taken over the overall project management of the 150-million-euro project: "Close coordination with the local authorities and institutions is important so that we can realise construction projects and the procurement of new machines and systems at this pace. The cooperation is excellent! It is clear to everyone involved how important this project is for the city of Arnstadt and the Ilm district."

The preparatory construction measures for the N3 expansion project began back in November, including the expansion of the car park for the now over 900 employees.

The actual construction work will start at the beginning of 2024 with the expansion of the cleaning line for engine components and the extension for the factory hall. The ground-breaking ceremony for the new logistics campus with high-bay warehouse and delivery centre will take place in the third quarter of 2024. At the same time, the canteen is being expanded and the office areas remodelled.

On the way to 1,000 employees: recruitment continues at full speed; opportunities also for specialists from outside the industry from Germany and abroad

The expansion plans and increasing workload are also accompanied by an increased need for skilled labour. "We will fill another 300 positions - through in-house training, qualifications and direct entry," explains Stefan Landes, Commercial Director responsible for HR. "We will soon be welcoming the 1,000th employee to N3. When it comes to recruiting staff, we not only rely on our attractiveness for local specialists, but have also been expanding our search geographically for some time." A welcoming culture is important in order to attract skilled workers from other federal states and abroad to N3 and Thuringia. Landes: "We want to play our part in creating a corporate and entrepreneurial culture characterised by diversity at the Erfurter Kreuz." In order to sustainably improve the attractiveness of Thuringia as a business location, it is important that federal and state policy initiate measures such as the easier recognition of foreign educational qualifications and a targeted visa issuing structure. Housing, a needs-based public transport network and educational facilities are also part of an attractive location. "At Erfurter Kreuz, we are already working successfully with our partners from politics and business to achieve these goals together. Thuringia is already well positioned today - and we want to build on this in the future," says Landes.

Further information:

Overview of vocational training at N3

Vocational training

Aircraft mechanic specialising in engine technology

Warehouse logistics specialist

Machining mechanic

Materials tester specialising in metal technology

IT specialist specialising in system integration

Dual study programme (in cooperation with the Gera-Eisenach Cooperative State University)

Production engineering

Technical management


Background information Expansion of N3 Engine Overhaul Services

xDREAM growth programme: ramp-up of production to the overhaul of 250 engines per year

N3 Engine Overhaul Services celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2022. Before the pandemic, in 2019, the company was already overhauling 150 engines and was on a growth trajectory to build more capacity, especially for the Trent 900 and Trent XWB engine types. In 2021 and 2022, N3 suffered a one-third decline in orders. The Trent 700 and Trent XWB engines got N3 through the crisis, and thanks to the team's good crisis management and the support of the German government in utilising short-time working, N3 was able to maintain its workforce. In spring 2022, N3 switched from crisis to growth mode. After 15 years of successful collaboration, the parent companies Lufthansa Technik AG and Rolls-Royce plc. agreed to intensify their cooperation and commitment in Thuringia and gave their approval to expand the N3 site. This includes the expansion of the factory building and the construction of a logistics centre on the company premises. To implement this, N3 launched its comprehensive xDREAM growth programme in 2022.

N3 brief company profile

N3 Engine Overhaul Services (N3) is the European centre of excellence for the maintenance and repair of Rolls-Royce Trent engines. The joint venture between Lufthansa Technik AG and Rolls-Royce plc. is based just outside Arnstadt, in Thuringia's largest industrial area "Erfurter Kreuz". More than 900 employees, 29 of whom are trainees and apprentices service engines for more than 50 international airlines on behalf of Rolls-Royce. The current N3 product portfolio consists of Rolls-Royce engine types Trent 700, Trent 900, Trent XWB, Trent 1000 TEN and Trent 500 (serviceability checks, tests on demand).

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