In January 2011, the corporate and academic worlds and the state government came together to officially found the Aviation Cluster Hamburg Metropolitan Region Association. 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 strategy of making aviation even more economical, more ecological, more comfortable, more reliable, and more flexible helped the Aviation Cluster Hamburg Metropolitan Region 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.
Centre of competence in cabin technology
The Aviation Cluster 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 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 (www.crystal-cabin-award.com).
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 (www.eacp-aero.eu)
As a Leading-Edge Cluster, the aviation companies, scientific organisations and research institutes in Hamburg 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 and air transport systems. 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. Two pivotal components in this strategy are the Center of Applied Aeronautical Research (ZAL) and the Hamburg Centre of Aviation Training (HCAT).
In the aviation industry, talent is the driving force behind economic development. Hamburg was early to recognise this, launching its Qualification 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 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.
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