Lufthansa Technik, which this week is using a Boeing 747-8 test aircraft, N6067U, for entry-into-service preparations, is evaluating which of the 45,000 spare parts it will buy as part of its initial provisioning. As parts continually incorporate higher-cost materials and technology, their prices increase, so Lufthansa is balancing which parts to provision to ensure operational readiness, says Dean Raineri, Lufthansa Technik’s director of new aircraft readiness, aircraft maintenance.

Lufthansa Technik receives monthly reports from Boeing on the 747-8’s flight test performance and says the number of squawks, or problems with the aircraft, are steadily decreasing. The maintenance arm of the airline is targeting at least a 98.5% dispatch reliability rate for the aircraft, according to Frank Höelterhoff, Lufthansa Technik’s maintenance division’s project manager for 747-8 service readiness.

While the 747-8 is not a clean-sheet aircraft, it includes several new features, such as fly-by-wire flight controls and a new wing. To gain practical experience on these new systems and components, Lufthansa Technik sent 25 of its 747-400 maintenance technicians to Boeing’s Seattle training facility for four weeks of training.

Raineri revealed that Lufthansa Technik plans to subscribe to at least some parts of Boeing’s Airplane Health Management program to aid its prognostic capabilities, but it has not yet signed the contract.

Lufthansa expects to receive the first of its 20 aircraft on order in the first quarter 2012.