Metropolregion Hamburg

Hamburg’s aviation industry presents new strategy

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Future strategy for the region’s aviation cluster, Hamburg Aviation, jointly produced by the commercial, academic, political and research sectors.

Cementing existing competencies, strengthening cooperation in research & development, and enhancing the region's international profile: these are the three essential pillars of the updated strategy for the Hamburg Aviation cluster. The paper, jointly produced by more than 100 high-profile players from the region in a series of interviews and workshops, was presented for the first time at the Hamburg Aviation Forum on 09 October. The new chairman of the Hamburg Aviation Executive Board, which has been expanded to nine members, is Prof. Dr Joachim Szodruch.

There is hardly any other centre of aviation, anywhere in the world, that combines as many competency areas along the length of the value creation chain as the Hamburg Metropolitan Region. Members of the Hamburg Aviation cluster have clearly stated their vision of the future: the focused and goal-driven cooperation of companies, research organisations, the educational sector, and the political and administrative world should allow even more innovations to see the light of day. Concrete measures include the targeted expansion of working groups on specific themes, interdisciplinary networking and conversation with other industry clusters, and even more activity on an international level.

Alongside Hamburg's four existing product areas - "Aircraft Production & Aircraft Systems", "Cabins & Cabin Systems", "Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul & Modification", and "Air Transportation Systems" are to be joined in the future by an additional core competency area, "Aviation Information & Communications Technology". The Center for Applied Aeronautical Research (ZAL) facility currently under construction in Finkenwerder, future home of research and development activities, also plays a role in the region's new aviation strategy, as does the Hamburg Centre of Aviation Training (HCAT), which will continue to grow in importance.

On an international level, Hamburg as a centre of aviation is already very well positioned, according to the experts consulted in the process of developing the strategy. One essential reason for this is the high level of networking between companies, universities, and the political sphere within the cluster. Since 2008, as the only industrial network north of Germany's central uplands, Hamburg Aviation has been one of the 15 members of the elite circle of Leading Edge Clusters selected by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.  Numerous research and development projects, programmes to train specialist personnel, and of course the Hamburg Aviation umbrella brand have already been successfully put in place within this framework.

"As a modern form of economic development support, Hamburg's cluster policy has really proven its worth - particularly through the success of our aviation cluster," says Senator Frank Horch, Minister for Economic Affairs, Transport and Innovation. "We have to continue along this route and grow into the future. Hamburg's companies and the creative brains we have here represent vast innovative potential. We can make use of this potential by consistently pushing ahead with the network mindset."

Dr Franz Josef Kirschfink, Managing Director of Hamburg Aviation, continues: "The order books are full, but for the first time in decades we are faced with the situation that neither Airbus nor Boeing will be developing completely new aircraft in the foreseeable future. This has serious implications for such a research-intense location as Hamburg, implications that are already being clearly felt in the field of engineering services. Our new strategic path will therefore have to identify solutions that not only secure our know-how, but, further enhance and extend it over the long term."

"Leading figures from all areas of Hamburg's aviation industry have shown great commitment in their participation in the strategy process - representing major corporations, SMEs, universities, research facilities, political and administrative bodies, and other institutions," says the new Chairman of Hamburg Aviation, Prof. Dr Joachim Szodruch, who has taken over the position from Bernhard Conrad. "This closing of ranks is an impressive demonstration of just how strongly the industry identifies with our location, despite various competing interests and individual aims and goals. It is a wonderful basis for our future path together."

Prof. Dr Monika Bessenrodt-Weberpals (Hamburg University of Applied Sciences), Prof. Dr Otto von Estorff (Hamburg University of Technology), Dr Werner Etzenbach (German Aerospace Center), Harald Gloy (Lufthansa Technik AG), Joerg Manthey (HECAS e.V.), Ingo Martens (Hanse-Aerospace e.V.), Dr Georg Mecke (Airbus Operations GmbH) and Andreas Richter (Department of Economic Affairs, Transport, and Innovation) were also elected to the Hamburg Aviation Executive Board.