What’s that you’re doing, Mr. Butzmann?

What's that you're doing, Mr. Butzmann?
© Jan Brandes/LH Technik

Michel Butzmann, 36,

aircraft mechanic

has been with Lufthansa Technik in Hamburg for 20 years


“I am disinfecting the water system of an Airbus A320. I have just opened the valve on the fuselage of the aircraft and am draining all the water from the tank and pipes. The tank can hold nearly 200 liters and supplies the water for flushing the toilets as well as for the taps in the bathrooms and galleys. Every week we clean the system using an antibacterial solution that’s left to act for four hours. The I empty the tank and pipes, flush the whole system with clean water, the drain the system again, rinse again, and repeat the process until there’s no trace of solution left. The clock is ticking as I do this because the aircraft aren’t supposed to be grounded any longer than necessary. That’s why we always clean the water system at night, while the engines, wheels, brakes and cabin equipment are also being checked. The first planes arrive here at around 10 p.m., and they have to be back on the runway again at 5 a.m..”