Super Star Lockheed Constellation Project Moving to Germany

Lufthansa Technik will jump start major restoration effort after settling class action lawsuit.

Lockheed Constellation
The restoration of a Lockheed Constellation has made great progress in Auburn, but it will now be completed in Germany.Lufthansa Super Star gGmbH

About 70 mechanics at the Auburn-Lewiston Municipal Airport in Auburn, Maine, will soon be out of a job. The mechanics were hired to work on a major restoration project of a Lockheed L-1649A Constellation Starliner named Super Star, which has been in progress for more than a decade. But Lufthansa Super Star gGmbH, which is operated by Lufthansa Technik, has decided to disassemble the aircraft and move it to Germany by the end of the year.

The Constellation was originally delivered out of the Lockheed factory in Burbank, California, in 1957 to Trans World Airlines (TWA), which named the airplane Star of the Tigris to carry passengers nonstop from the United States to Germany. Star of the Tigris was one of three Constellations acquired by Lufthansa Technik for the project in 2007, and the one best suited for the restoration. Hundreds of people have worked on the Super Star project since its beginning in 2007, according to the Sun Journal newspaper.

Project manager Oliver Sturm told the paper that the reason for the move is because “the airplane is too complex to finish here.” But part of that complexity, at least, could be a class action lawsuit that was settled last year. A complaint by one mechanic, Christopher Venegas, against Lufthansa Technik North America Holding Corp. and Global Aircraft Services Inc., alleged that the mechanics were being paid regular hourly rates while working an average of more than 60 hours per week (overtime pay is required beyond 40 hours per week). The complaint resulted in a class action lawsuit, covering more than 70 mechanics, which reached a settlement last year.

While the mechanics won the settlement, the disappointment they feel is great. “I’m obviously sad about not being able to complete…what I actually set out to do,” Venegas said to the Sun Journal. “And that was to… watch it fly away.”