Metropolregion Hamburg

What is Hamburg Aviation? Find out in our documentary film.


What is Hamburg Aviation? What is a cluster? What makes the Hamburg Metropolitan Region so special as an aviation location? Find out for yourself – in our documentary film.

Leading-Edge Cluster

The players in Hamburg Aviation form a powerful alliance of business, science and politics. Together, they launch initiatives and projects, for example in the research field and in securing a long-term supply of specialist personnel.

Their goals: to network the companies, organisations and institutions of Hamburg Aviation, to promote the development of specialist personnel, to expand knowledge transfer, and to improve the commercial and economic environment. A further aim is to identify and fill gaps in the process chain, to produce innovations and to open up new areas of competency.

The founding members reflect the variety of the cluster: Airbus, Lufthansa Technik, Flughafen Hamburg, the associations Hanse-Aerospace, HECAS and BDLI, the institutes and research facilities DLR, HCAT and ZAL and Hamburg’s four universities – Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (HAW Hamburg), Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH), Helmut Schmidt University (HSU) and the University of Hamburg. The Hamburg Business Development Corporation (HWF) and the Ministry of Economy, Transport and Innovation (BWVI) have also been members from the very beginning. There are also numerous sponsoring members.

Together, all of these members form the Hamburg Aviation Network. In the Hamburg Aviation Board, members work together to further develop the Cluster’s strategy. The central office of the Cluster operates as Hamburg Aviation Services and ensures the implementation of programmes and measures that have been adopted.

Working together for a new kind of aviation

Together the players in Hamburg Aviation pursue a common goal: to network research and development, thereby bringing to market high-quality products and services for the aviation of the future – products that are good for passengers and set the standards in terms of resource protection.

An aviation city that is leading the way – the product areas 

In a joint action, Hamburg's aviation stakeholders updated the region's strategy, “A New Kind of Aviation” in 2014. Our strategy is designed to make flying in the future more economical, more ecological, more comfortable, more flexible more reliable, and more connected. To achieve this, the players in Hamburg Aviation concentrate on four product areas:

  • the development and construction of aircraft and aircraft systems
  • the development and construction of cabins and cabin systems
  • the optimisation of aviation services
  • the improving the efficiency of the air transportation system
  • as well as aviation-related IT and communication systems.

Download the current cluster strategy of Hamburg Aviation as PDF.

The strategy is convincing: in September 2008 the aviation cluster succeeded in the non-industry specific Leading-Edge Cluster competition organised by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), winning the title of Leading-Edge Cluster as one of only 15 clusters nationwide. Numerous research and development projects, representing more than 80 million euros worth of investment, were being jointly financed, half-half, by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the companies within the cluster. In 2014, the European Commission's ECEI initiative awarded Hamburg Aviation with the GOLD Label for Cluster Management Excellence, crowning Hamburg Aviation as one of the 40 best-managed clusters in Europe.

For more information about the research projects and innovations in the four product areas, visit our Research Database!

Hamburg Aviation’s successes

Today’s cluster, Hamburg Aviation, was born in 2001 as the Hamburg Aviation Initiative. Many things have been achieved since then:

  • In 2002, for the first time, Hamburg hosted the Aircraft Interiors Expo, the world’s largest trade fair for aircraft interior design.
  • In 2007, the famous Crystal Cabin Award for outstanding design was presented as part of the Aircraft Interiors Expo.
  • In 2008, Hamburg Aviation won the Leading-Edge Cluster competition organised by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, benefiting from wide-ranging research support.
  • In 2009, the Center of Applied Aeronautical Research (ZAL) and the Hamburg Centre of Aviation Training (HCAT) were founded, two institutions that secure Hamburg’s number one position in research and teaching.
  • In 2014, Hamburg Aviation receives the GOLD Label for Cluster Management Excellence by the European Commission, thereby ranking as one of the Top 40 clusters in Europe.
  • In 2016, the aviation cluster Hamburg was one of the winners of the "Ausgezeichnete Orte im Land der Ideen" 2016 competition.
  • In 2016, the validity of the GOLD label has been extended until 2018.