A new chapter in aircraft manufacturing was heralded on 1st October with the opening of a new assembly hall in Hamburg. In the hangar, robots and employees will work together to assemble fuselage sections of the A320 family. This will boost the industrial ramp-up and safeguard the competitiveness of the site.
Airbus has invested heavily in the production systems in Hamburg in the past two years and has opened the most advanced A320 assembly hangar to date earlier this month. In this highly automated assembly line, 20 robots will be helping to assemble sections out of individual fuselage shells for the A320 aircraft family. A digital data logging system will support the process to make it even safer and more efficient. Additional laser technology will ensure precision in the production. This sets new standards in digital automation.
A modern structure assembly line is starting to operate.
Humans and machines complement each other
In the hangar, humans and robots will work hand in hand. Operations which require particularly complex ergonomic skills will be taken over by machines thereby relieving employees of cumbersome tasks. The A320 aircraft will now be assembled where the parts of the A380 used to be assembled – the global demand for aircraft remains strong. An estimated 39,200 new aircraft will be needed in the coming 20 years.
Hamburg is benefitting from the industrial ramp-up
This year alone, an estimated 60 aircraft from the A320 family will be assembled per month worldwide – more than half of them in Hamburg. This new highly-automated production hangar is an important step into the next era of aircraft production and a milestone towards the factory of the future. This development strengthens the Hamburg location and secures employment on the ground. Within the last twelve months, more than one thousand new employees have been engaged and hundreds of positions are still vacant.
Stand: Oct 2019
Airbus is enlarging its ‘Airspace Customer Definition Centre' (CDC) at its location in Hamburg for the A320 and A330. The investments strengthen the importance of the location and will secure employment in Hamburg.
Hamburg is one of the three biggest centres for civil aviation worldwide. Every sixth aircraft delivered globally comes from the Elbe river. The location is the heart of the A320 programme as well as one of the most important international delivery centres for the A320 family in the world. Now, the location has been strengthened further.
The expansion of the high-tech cabin centre strengthens Hamburg as an important location for aviation.
Cabins gain importance
The 'Airspace Customer Definition Centre' (CDC) is a strategic investment in the growing market of aircraft cabins. Through the long-haul capabilities of the A320 family and the continued development of the A330neo, the cabins of this aircraft family have become more specialised while offering more adaptations. This trend takes into account the innovative showroom. The CDC meets the call by presenting the customers individual designs and inspiration in a realistic virtual world format.
Since its opening in 2014, the CDC has been used by A350-XWB customers. Starting now, this renowned concept of a faster, simpler and high-tech cabin design process is open to all three of the Airbus aircraft families: the A350, the A330 and the A320.
The cabin of the future will come from Hamburg
With the investments in the CDC, Airbus emphasises the importance of Hamburg as the location for worldwide aircraft manufacturing. This secures highly-skilled jobs in Hamburg and Germany, while also maintaining Germany's competitive advantage in a strategic future-oriented industry.
Status: June 2019
Airbus turned 50. For this landmark anniversary, Europe’s leading aerospace company is keeping its eye firmly on the future: Hybrid-electric aircraft, new urban air mobility solutions and digitalisation are central pillars.
On 29 May 2019, Airbus celebrated the 50th anniversary of its foundation. On this day in 1969, German Federal Minister of Economic Affairs Karl Schiller and French Minister of Transport Jean Chamant signed the treaty to establish Airbus. It was a clear commitment to European integration. The political foresight and cross-border cooperation altered the global aerospace industry. Out of many separate aerospace companies in Europe, one global market leader emerged.
Also German politics congratulated Airbus on this anniversary.
German Federal Minister of Economy Karl Schiller and the French Minister of Transport Jean Chamant on 29 May 1969
Today, an Airbus aircraft takes off or lands every second somewhere around the world. Half of all helicopters in operation across the globe have been produced by Airbus Helicopters. And, Airbus Defence and Space maintains Europe’s independent access to space and helps ensure the continent’s security.
The leading edge of innovation
The success of Europe’s aerospace sector is rooted in a strong commitment to non-stop innovation. Now, the pace of innovation is accelerating. Digitalisation is fundamentally changing the aerospace industry, both its products and the way it produces aircraft. The key drivers are automation, big data, the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence.
Airbus is a pioneer in the development of electric and hybrid aircraft. The long-term objective: zero-emission flight. To achieve this goal, Airbus develops projects such as the eFan-X, a hybrid-electric aircraft model, as well as alternative fuels.
The fully electric CityAirbus has the potential to transform urban air mobility concepts. With virtually emission-free journeys over short distances, the vertical take-off and landing aircraft will ease congestion in metropolitan areas. The learnings in electric flight can now be applied to larger aircraft.
A 50-year European success story
Winning the future
We strongly believe Germany and Europe should remain at the forefront of aerospace technology, a sector that is crucial for the continent’s competitiveness, employment, security and strategic autonomy. This will require significant commitments by industry and governments alike. Airbus invests 5% of its revenues in research and technology while German programmes such as the Aviation Research Programme (LuFo, for its abbreviation in German) are catalysts for value-adding innovations that make flying cleaner, quieter and safer. LuFo has already added 28,000 jobs and every invested Euro has a fivefold return.
From this position of strength, Germany should significantly increase its investment in innovation and technology to shape the future of this strategic sector – just as the visionaries of 1969 intended.
Status: May 2019
Around the world, more new frontiers are being drawn and protectionism is gaining ground. Europe’s aerospace group is moving in the opposite direction. The best example is the recent alliance with Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier.
Convincing aircraft, promising market
Airbus is acquiring a 50.01% stake in the C Series aircraft programme from Bombardier. The agreement should be finalised in the second half of 2018. This transatlantic partnership holds enormous potential for both parties: with its A320 family, Airbus offers aircraft starting from 150 seats. In contrast, the Bombardier C Series, which have been officially renamed the A220 Family in July 2018, seats 100 to 150 passengers, making the programme an ideal addition to Airbus’ product range. At the same time, Bombardier gains access to Airbus’ global sales and maintenance network. For aircraft of this size, global demand is expected to reach 6,000 aircraft in the next 20 years. Until now, the limited possibilities of the Canadian manufacturer have prevented what is technically-speaking a first-class aircraft from being a commercial success. The project end was looming, and development costs reaching into the billions would have been irretrievably lost.
And the winners are: Europe and Canada
It is generally unknown in this country that 4,800 Bombardier employees work on the A220 Family in Belfast in Northern Ireland. In this economically underdeveloped region, the Canadians are the largest industrial employer. Thanks to the involvement of Airbus, these jobs can now be secured in the long term. This is also true for suppliers based in Germany. And not only Europe, but Canada benefits too: the A220 Family headquarters will remain in Quebec, as will 2,000 jobs, and the Quebec aerospace cluster will be durably strengthened.
And the USA can be happy too
For the A220 Family, Airbus expanded its site in Mobile, Alabama to handle the final assembly of A220 Family aircraft for the U.S., ensuring commercial success in the USA. At the instigation of U.S. group Boeing, the U.S. government imposed punitive tariffs of around 300% on the aircraft from its Canadian neighbours. As a “made in USA” product, it will no longer be possible to apply this tariff. This was a victory for all those who wish to develop and provide the best and most efficient products through global collaboration.
Competition is continuing to pick up
The alliance between Bombardier and Airbus must not lead us to lose sight of the fact that the intensity of competition on the aircraft market is set to pick up significantly in coming years. New aircraft manufacturers with tremendous ambitions and substantial support from their public owners, such as Irkut and Sukhoi in Russia, and Comac in China, are pushing their way onto the market. Airbus is confidently standing up to its competitors – and scoring points thanks to innovative partnerships in particular.
Status: July 2018