Hamburg Aviation Profile

Submitted by HAMBURG AVIATION on 11 July 2018


Hamburg: Germany’s biggest Aviation Site

The Hamburg metropolitan region’s core competencies cover all areas of aircraft construction, aircraft maintenance and airport operations. Along with the three major companies – Airbus, Lufthansa Technik and Hamburg Airport – more than 300 suppliers as well as various technological and scientific institutions contribute their expertise. More than 40,000 specialists are employed in the aviation industry. As a result, Hamburg Aviation is today one of the world’s most important locations for the civil aviation industry.

Familial Bonds

In January 2011, the corporate and academic worlds and the state government came together to officially found the Aviation Cluster Hamburg Metropolitan Region Association (“Luftfahrtcluster Metropolregion Hamburg e.V.”), now Hamburg Aviation. The fifteen founding members of the new association are Airbus, Lufthansa Technik, Hamburg Airport, the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the small business associations Hanse-Aerospace and HECAS, Hamburg’s tertiary institutions (University of Applied Sciences Hamburg (HAW), Helmut Schmidt University (HSU), Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH), University of Hamburg) , the Hamburg Centre of Aviation Training (HCAT), the ZAL Center of Applied Aeronautical Research, the Ministry for Economy, Transport and Innovation (BWVI), the Hamburg Business Development Corporation (HWF) and the German Aerospace Industries Association (BDLI).

There are numerous other sponsoring members. In fact, the 100th member was welcomed in March 2014. Together, all of these members form the Hamburg Aviation Network. The Hamburg Aviation Board determines the goals, makes strategic decisions and leads the cluster. Finally, Hamburg Aviation Services is the association’s central office, taking care of the various tasks of operational management.

The founding of the association is a milestone in the successful development of an industry-wide network born in 2001 as the “Joint Initiative Hamburg – The place for aviation”. Just one year previously, the decision had been made that Hamburg would be the second major site, next to Toulouse, for the development and construction of the Airbus A380 mega-liner.

In 2008 the network received the Federal Government accolade of Leading-Edge Cluster. The integrated strategy of making aviation even more economical, more ecological, more comfortable, more reliable, and more flexible helped the Hamburg Aviation Cluster to win the first non-industry specific Leading-Edge Cluster competition, organised by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), securing 40 million euros in research funding. In addition, Hamburg Aviation was honoured with the GOLD Label by the European Commission’s ECEI Initiative in 2014, recognising it as one of Europe’s best managed clusters.

The association is a genuine public-private partnership, with the aim that the new cluster structure will make better use of the positive outlook for the aviation industry in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region, more effectively exploiting the associated growth potential. By strengthening the primary involvement of the industry in the management of the cluster and by establishing a new association, important prerequisites are fulfilled for the direct participation in national and European programmes. It is planned to develop new collaborative programmes and joint projects that will help further cement the region’s global ranking in the aviation industry.


The Aviation Cluster Hamburg Metropolitan Region can look back on an aviation tradition spanning more than 100 years. The foundation stone of the first airship hangar in the Hamburg borough of Fuhlsbüttel was laid in 1911, and in 2011, Hamburg Airport is celebrating its 100th birthday. It is today the world’s longest-serving airport to still be based at its original location. But the aviation tradition in Hamburg is even older. As early as 1909, Hamburg’s aviation pioneers made their first attempts at flying with home-made aircraft. The “Centrale für Aviatic”, an early training facility from that time, developed into the Hansa Flugzeugwerke factory. Then in 1933, Hamburg entered the world of serious aircraft manufacture on a grand scale, when the Blohm & Voss dockyards established Hamburger Flugzeugbau GmbH. More and more qualified engineers were needed for airship construction. And so, in 1935, a Department of Aircraft Construction was established at the Hamburg Technical State Teaching Facility, a predecessor of today’s University of Applied Sciences (HAW Hamburg). In 1965, after a number of mergers, Hamburger Flugzeugbau became part of DASA (Daimler Benz Aerospace), which in turn became part of the Airbus Consortium in 1969. 14 years earlier, in 1955, the airline Lufthansa established its technical base at Hamburg Airport. Today, Lufthansa Technik is the world’s market leader in the maintenance, repair and overhaul of commercial aircraft and their engines and components. The birth of Airbus brought with it a boom in the industry.

The whole Metropolitan region profits from the A380, the successful A320 family and the new A350, the world’s most efficient long-haul aircraft. The Airbus sites at Stade (competence centre for carbon fibre composites) and at Buxtehude (for cabin management systems) are mainly involved in these programmes. In Stade’s CFRP Valley (CFK-Valley), Airbus and a supplier network are developing pioneering construction methods and automated production processes in the growth market of carbon fibre-reinforced plastics (CFRPs). Furthermore, various suppliers and engineering service providers have settled in Hamburg and the Metropolitan Region; many of these are represented by the Hanse-Aerospace and HECAS associations.

Centre of competence in cabin technology

Hamburg Aviation has earned international recognition in the aviation community as a centre of special competence for aircraft cabins and cabin systems. Airbus cooperates closely with SMEs to develop modern cabin interiors and highly advanced technologies for all Airbus programmes, whilst Lufthansa Technik fulfils the highest demands in the field of VIP fittings. There is also a close working relationship between the industry and research institutions in Hamburg. The city’s universities, moreover, offer various degree courses with a focus on cabin systems.

The Hamburg Aviation Cluster has launched a contest to promote the continuous improvement of passenger comfort and to inspire new economic and environmentally friendly solutions: the Crystal Cabin Award, the only international award for innovative aircraft cabin products and concepts. The trophies, which have become a seal of quality known and coveted around the world, are awarded every year in association with the Aircraft Interiors Expo. The world’s greatest fair for aircraft interiors underlines Hamburg’s leading position in the cabin sector. For details, visit

International cooperation

Hamburg is meeting the challenge of growing global competition in the aviation industry by bolstering international cooperation. This generates synergies and ensures that the potential for innovation is fully tapped. The Aviation Cluster has therefore established the European Aerospace Cluster Partnership (EACP) with its aims of fostering mutual exchange and initiating international cooperative ventures. The continually growing EACP was founded in May 2009 with 24 aerospace clusters from eleven countries, including several partner organisations in Germany. Among these are the two Hamburg-based ventures Hanse-Aerospace e.V. and HECAS e.V. as well as the French networks Aerospace Valley and Pôle Pégase, and the Italian aviation group Campania Aerospace; Hamburg has already signed bilateral cooperation agreements with these organisations. The EACP has since grown to include 34 members from 13 countries.


As a Leading-Edge Cluster in Germany, the aviation companies, scientific organisations and research institutes in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region are jointly training their gaze on the future: their goal is to make flying more economical, more ecological, more comfortable, more reliable and more flexible. Numerous research projects revolving around product and process innovation will drive the expansion of the cluster’s competencies in aircraft and aircraft systems, cabins and cabin systems, aviation services, air transport systems and aviation related IT and communications. Research is being carried out, for example, on the use of fuel cells as a source of energy for aircraft and on improvements in the noise levels and air quality inside the aircraft cabin; airport processes are being optimised.

A pivotal component in this strategy is the ZAL Center of Applied Aeronautical Research, opened in 2016. It offers testing facilities in which players from industry and the world of research will network their capabilities, initiate joint research projects and turn new technologies into innovative products. The emphasis is on cabin concepts and technologies, air conditioning systems, fuselage and system integration, and hydrogen/fuel cell applications. Small and medium-sized businesses will also receive advice, and support will be given to the establishment of cooperative partnerships.

Another innovative infrastructure project is the Hamburg Centre of Aviation Training (HCAT), an inter-campus cooperative project in which the industry, universities and trade schools network to secure needs-based training of specialist personnel. Emphasis is placed on academic education in the cabin and cabin systems field along with training and continuing education in the fields of avionics/electronics and structure.

Skills and expertise

In the aviation industry, talent is the driving force behind economic development. Hamburg was early to recognise this, launching its Skills & Expertise Initiative Aviation Industry in the year 2000 – a close-knit, intensely vibrant network, in which universities and training facilities exchange expertise with Hamburg’s aviation companies and jointly develop new ways of recruiting talent and new, more internationalised forms of training, continuing education and academic education. The aim of the Skills & Expertise Initiative is to provide the aviation industry with specialist personnel in the short, medium and long term. At the same time, this will facilitate the growth of the region and enhance the innovation and competitiveness of regional businesses.

What‘s that flying up there? How do kites, hot air balloons and zeppelins stay up in the sky? And why do technicians crawl around inside the fuselage armed with dental mirrors? Questions such as these are explored by the “Fascination of Technology” club which evolved from the lecture series “The Fascination of Flying – Technology for Children”. The club now offers year-round events keyed to children and young people. On average, some 200 junior students flock to each of the lectures held by professors at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (HAW Hamburg). Afterwards they have the opportunity to put their newly acquired knowledge to work in companies and laboratories. Every year, HAW also organises a hands-on summer camp in conjunction with companies from the aviation industry.

Service, Marketing, PR

The office of Hamburg Aviation (Hamburg Aviation Services) is situated at the Hamburg Business Development Corporation (HWF). The HWF offers extensive consulting services - regarding the relevant location conditions - to aviation companies operating in Hamburg or planning to settle there. The City of Hamburg features a superb infrastructure, along with attractive municipal and commercial properties. One valuable service is the online database of businesses. It provides a clearly organized overview of products and services offered by companies in Hamburg and North Germany, including direct access to contact persons.

Hamburg Aviation organizes various networking events and fair stands. It handles public relations and compiles and distributes information covering a wide range of aviation companies; it also reports on the numerous activities and new developments in the industry. Information resources include a monthly newsletter, the website and social media channels such as or Hamburg Aviation also cooperates with the cluster initiative set up by the Federal Ministry for Economy, Transport and Innovation.


Hamburg Aviation

Wexstraße 7

D-20355 Hamburg

President of the Aviation Cluster Hamburg Metropolitan Region Association / Hamburg Aviation:

Prof. Dr. Joachim Szodruch

Managing Director of the Aviation Cluster Hamburg Metropolitan Region Association / Hamburg Aviation:

Dr. Franz Josef Kirschfink

Phone: +49 (0)40 22 70 19 53

franzjosef.kirschfink [at]

Head of Marketing, PR & Events:

Lukas Kirchner

Phone: +49 (0)40 22 70 19 87

lukas.kirchner [at]

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Cluster organisation
Hamburg Aviation e.V.
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