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Competition and Economy

Countdown to ILA: The leading innovation trade fair in aerospace

Over one hundred years ago, the first ILA took place in Berlin. The Berlin Air Show has since developed into the leading trade fair for innovation in aerospace. This year, the concrete steps toward climate-neutral flight can be experienced. 

Since 1912, the international aerospace exhibition ILA is taking place every two years. Besides the exhibitions in Le Bourget/Paris and Farnborough/London, ILA is one of the world’s most important aerospace trade fairs. In recent years, ILA has developed from a classic aerospace trade fair to the leading innovation trade fair. It is the most important aerospace exhibition in the EU this year. 


To launch the Future by Airbus Smarter Skies vision ahead of the Berlin Air Show (ILA), a spectacular 4D lightshow transforms Berlin's Humboldt-Box, creating a breathtaking display of smarter flight in 2050.

ILA is the leading innovation trade fair of the aerospace industry.

Innovation and Leadership in Aerospace

The history began in the exhibition halls at the zoo in Berlin in April 1912 as part of the “Allgemeine Luftfahrzeug-Ausstellung“. After two world wars, ILA took place at Hanover-Langenhagen Airport, which soon reached its capacity limit. After the reunification, ILA returned to Berlin – and has since taken place at Schönefeld Airport. Today, ILA no longer stands for “Internationale Luft- und Raumfahrtausstellung", but for Innovation and Leadership in Aerospace.   


Innovations on the airfield

ILA has consistently developed into a venue for innovations. At ILA 1996, the German-French combat helicopter Eurocopter Tiger was presented and the A319 had its trade fair debut. In 2002 at ILA, the A318 and the A340-600 were presented. Two years later, the German Armed Forces’ Eurofighter EF2000, the first serially produced Eurocopter NH90 and the German Air Forces’ first tanker aircraft A310 MRTT celebrated their premiers. In 2006, the A380 was on display for the first time – despite the trade fair being shortened by one day, ILA recorded a record number of visitors. In 2010, the German Armed Forces showed the A400M for the first time and in 2014 the A350XWB was demonstrated for the first time. With the presentation of the A340-300BLADE in 2018, the innovative character of ILA was underlined once again.


Towards climate-neutral flight

This year, ILA will take place from 13 to the 17 of May. The focus is on innovations that show the way to climate-neutral flight. The European Commission sends an important signal as the partner this year: This year the EU AeroDays take place during ILA. 


Status: Mar 2020

Towards the factory of the future - Hangar 245

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. 


Airbus’ highly-automated fuselage structure assembly line for A320 Family aircraft, located in Hamburg, is responsible for joining single fuselage shells into sections, as well as final assembly of single sections to aircraft fuselages

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 expands high-tech cabin centre in Hamburg

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.


With the extension of Airbus’ Airspace Customer Definition Centre (CDC), this Hamburg, Germany facility now fully adopts the company’s “Airspace” cabin brand

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


Pioneering progress: 50 years of Airbus

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. 


Airbus 50 Day 1 Hero Image Hub (1)

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.



The Airbus family formation flight – performed in celebration of the company’s 50th anniversary – attracted a large audience in the “fan zone”

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


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