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Airbus in Germany

As one of the countries that was key to the creation of Airbus, Germany has a rich history of aircraft design and construction and is home to some of Airbus’ largest and most important operations. The company employs more than 46,000 people working across 27 sites, representing close to half of the country’s entire aerospace workforce.

Airbus’ strong German roots provide an important impetus for growth and competitiveness for both the company and Germany as an industrial location. Airbus works with more than 10,000 external suppliers in Germany and buys goods and services valued at an estimated €8.3 billion a year, while achieving an annual turnover of around €4.7 billion in Germany.

In addition to extensive work in the commercial aircraft and rotorcraft sectors, Airbus develops cutting-edge technologies and tailor-made products that reinforce national security, including military helicopters, satellite programmes for secure military communications and the Eurofighter – Europe’s world-class multirole fighter jet.

Commercial Aircraft

A380 jetliners are fitted with their cabin interiors and painted at Hamburg-Finkenwerder in advance of their final delivery.

Airbus’s commercial aircraft activities involve approximately 28,000 workers in Germany, representing nearly a third of all jobs in the country’s civil aviation industry. The city of Hamburg plays an important role in the Airbus production network, with many of its German staff working at the Hamburg-Finkenwerder industrial site.

These employees are central to Airbus programmes, as they handle structural assembly and equipping of fuselage sections, as well oversee the A320 jetliner family’s program management. Hamburg-Finkenwerder is responsible for more than half of Airbus’ annual A320 Family output, with the facility hosting four production lines for the single-aisle jetliner family.

The site also plays a key role in the A380 programme, with its major component assembly hall that handles structural assembly and equipping of forward and complete rear fuselage sections for this very large aircraft. These fully assembled and outfitted fuselage sections are then shipped to the A380 final assembly line in Toulouse, France on a specially-built roll-on, roll-off sea-going vessel.

Following final assembly in Toulouse, A380s are flown to Hamburg to be fitted with customers’ cabin interiors and painted in one of the two high-tech A380 paint shops before final delivery. Final acceptance and delivery of A380s for customers in Europe and the Middle East take place from the delivery centre at Hamburg-Finkenwerder.

Hamburg also plays a key role in the A330 and A350 XWB programmes, manufacturing and equipping the jetliners’ forward and rear fuselage sections.

In Bremen, more than 3,000 people work at the second-largest Airbus site in Germany where they are responsible for the design, manufacture, integration and testing of high-lift systems for the wings of Airbus aircraft.

Approximately 2,000 employees work at Airbus’ operation in the city of Stade, producing vertical stabilisers for Airbus aircraft. Stade also is one of the world's leading centres for carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) – the weight-saving composite material that Airbus has increasingly incorporated into its aircraft. Major components of the fuselage and wings of the A350 XWB, made of CFRP, are manufactured at Stade as well.

At Donauwörth, the facility’s primary focus on helicopters is complemented by its manufacture of aircraft doors – where some 80% of all doors used on Airbus jetliners are produced.

 

More than half of Airbus’ annual single-aisle aircraft output comes from Hamburg-Finkenwerder.

Helicopters

Airbus employs more than 6,000 people in its German helicopter industrial activities, assigned to the primary sites in Donauwörth and Kassel.

Donauwörth is Airbus’ main helicopter production site in Germany and is home to the world’s second-largest helicopter plant.

Airbus’ H135 and H145 light utility helicopters are designed and manufactured in Donauwörth, as is the UHT variant of the military Tiger twin-engine attack helicopter. The NHIndustries NH90 – a transport and naval rotorcraft built in a European joint venture involving Airbus – is produced at Donauwörth for the Bundeswehr – the unified armed forces of Germany – and foreign customers.

More than manufacturing, Donauwörth is the centre of tomorrow’s helicopter technology in Germany with some 800 engineers working in its development centre. The city also is home to the Military Support Centre where Bundeswehr helicopters are serviced and equipped with the latest technology.

Maintenance and repair, technical training and equipment integration are carried out in Kassel.

 

FAL Donauwörth

The city of Donauwörth is home to Airbus’ primary helicopter production site in Germany.

Airbus’ site in Donauwörth is the world’s second-largest helicopter plant.

Defence

The city of Manching is the centre of competence for Airbus’ military air systems activity in Germany, hosting Airbus’ contribution to the Eurofighter programme – including final assembly, system tests and flight trials with these combat aircraft for Germany’s air force, the Luftwaffe. Manching also services Airbus-made aircraft flying with the Luftwaffe.

Research and development activities in unmanned flight – such as the Barracuda technology testbed and innovative demonstrators like the Quadcruiser – also take place in Manching.

Ulm, in southwest Germany, is home to the Airbus’ radar expertise: the Eurofighter’s on-board radar, along with border security systems, maritime radars and radar antennas for satellites are developed and manufactured at Ulm.

Bremen, in the northwest of the country, develops and builds the integrated fuselage assembly for the A400M military transport aircraft, including the cargo loading system.

Germany Manching1

The Barracuda is part of Airbus’ comprehensive unmanned aerial system (UAS) capabilities.

Space

NirSpec integration Ottobrunn’s cleanrooms

Airbus employees in Ottobrunn/Taufkirchen, near Munich, produce solar panels for satellites, as well as design, develop and manufacture rocket engines and thrust chambers for the Ariane 5 commercial launch vehicle. The Near Infrared Spectrograph – an instrument capable of detecting the faintest radiation from distant galaxies – is a product of Ottobrunn/Taufkirchen for use on the U.S. James Webb Space Telescope.

Bremen is a centre of competence for space transportation, manned space flight and space robotics. Its highly-skilled employees work on key programmes such as the Ariane 5 commercial launcher and the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle – a joint project between the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency (ESA). Bremen also is responsible for operation of European components on the International Space Station.

Airbus engineers in Friedrichshafen are currently developing the second generation of MetOp weather satellites, which will be launched from 2021. The multispectral satellites for the Sentinel-2 mission, the oceanographic satellites for Sentinel-6 and the radar instrument for Sentinel-1 are being built here for the European Union's Copernicus Earth observation programme. With its involvement in the joint European-Japanese BepiColombo mission to Mercury, which launches in 2018, the site is at the leading edge of space exploration. The portfolio of space-related projects in Friedrichshafen also includes products and services for space-based reconnaissance, such as the marketing of radar images from the TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X satellites as well as their successors. Work is also focused on experimental facilities for research under zero-gravity conditions for the International Space Station ISS.

 

Local Partners

Through partnerships with organisations like Femtec, which promotes engineering and science among female students in Germany, Airbus is encouraging students to pursue high-tech careers by inviting them to participate in technological projects within the company.

Innovation

Research on biofuel from algae starts at Ludwig Bölkow Campus, uniting Technical University of Munich, Airbus and partners.

Airbus is one of the world’s biggest drivers of innovation. In 2017, it invested €2.8 billion in self-financed research and development – placing it among Germany’s 10 most research-oriented companies.

With Airbus holding some 11,000 patent families and approximately 37,000 individual patents, environmentally-friendly technologies play a key role in the company's research, with the extraction of biofuels from algae being one of the main focal points in Germany.

Furthermore Airbus, together with the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities (EIP-SCC) and the city council of Ingolstadt have selected Ingolstadt as a pilot city for demonstrating various forms of digital mobility. On 20 June 2018, a Manifesto of Intent has been signed by Airbus and further partners such as the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), Audi, the Munich Airport and the Technical University of Ingolstadt.

Airbus is one of Germany’s 10 most research-oriented companies.

Corporate Citizenship

Airbus is committed to promoting young scientific talent. In 2012, the company launched a project at the Ludwig Bölkow Campus in Ottobrunn/Taufkirchen to enable science and industry to combine their strengths in joint research projects and promote the creation of start-up businesses.

In addition to research on such current issues as ‘green aerospace,’ students have the opportunity to pursue degrees, and a start-up centre at the campus ensures rapid knowledge transfer between the academic world and industry.

Apprenticeships in Germany, where dual education has a long tradition, have become an essential pillar for Airbus. The Duales Studium is such a programme, where students combine formal education with a more practical and specialised approach in a company for a period of three to five years.

Germany's future

With commercial jetliner and space activities in the northern part of the country, military aircraft work being performed in the south and helicopter operations in the centre, Airbus in Germany is optimally positioned for the future of aviation. Technology teams across the country are focussing on forward-looking concepts – such as unmanned and individualised air transport – that will fundamentally change the flying experience.

Since the company’s foundation, the number of people employed at Airbus in Germany has risen; and as growth rates in the industry indicate, this success story is destined to continue for years to come.

A founding nation of Airbus, Germany will continue to be a key pillar for the success of the company around the world.

Airbus Germany Infographic EN
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