Green boost for aviation thanks to funding schemes

Series (6) on Industries in Hamburg: Support schemes also focusing on future of Hamburg's aviation cluster
28 March 2023
Flughafen Hamburg rubrikenbild-fliegen, Oliver Sorg, 29.11.

Hamburg Airport welcomed over 11.1 passengers in 2022 and passenger numbers have more than doubled over the 5.32 million in 2021. However, passenger numbers remain 36 per cent below pre-pandemic levels. Yet, key aviation figures remain unchanged. Hamburg Airport, Airbus and Lufthansa Technik are Hanseatic bulwarks of flying and over 300 companies in the sector employ more 40,000 people in Hamburg alone. The transformation towards CO2-neutral and sustainable aviation gained momentum even during the pandemic.

GATE and Faircraft 

The Green Aviation Technologies (GATE) project, launched by the IFB Hamburg in December 2021, provides targeted support for sustainable aviation projects by SMEs. A total of EUR 4 million is going towards projects in sustainable aircraft systems and production, development of lightweight, modular aircraft cabins, approaches to sustainable aircraft operation or hydrogen-related research infrastructure for short- and medium-range aircraft. They include the Faircraft project, which is taking a new, environmentally-aware approach to designing cabin interiors with emphasis on recyclable, lighter materials. Less weight in aviation reduces fuel consumption and pollution.

Faircraft model on shown during ZAL event
© Nils Samp
Textile shells suspended from the cabin ceiling save weight thanks to Faircraft
Hamburg's new Hydrogen Aviation Lab
© Lufthansa Technik AG/Kai Hager
Hamburg's new Hydrogen Aviation Lab

Real laboratory for hydrogen technology

The Hydrogen Aviation Lab is now testing the fuel in a converted Airbus A320 as hydrogen is demanding and requires new infrastructure on the ground. If hydrogen is used instead of kerosene, the gas must be liquefied and cooled to minus 252 degrees Celsius. The joint project by Lufthansa Technik, the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the Center for Applied Aeronautics Research and Hamburg Airport is designing and testing extensive maintenance and ground processes for hydrogen technology. "GATE and Hydrogen Aviation Lab symbolise how much can be achieved when companies, research institutions and politics work together. We are very well positioned here in Hamburg," said Angus Baigent, Marketing Manager & PR Officer at Hamburg Aviation.

Hamburg Aviation Young Talent Award 

Jonas Mangold, a winner of the Hamburg Aviation Young Talents Award, which was presented at the 63rd Hamburg Aviation Forum in October, researches liquid hydrogen in ground handling. Mangold, a graduate of the University of Stuttgart, topped the "Green Flying" category and in co-operation with the supervising company DLR. (The Hamburg Aviation Young Talent Award requires a company or university to be based in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region.) Daniel Braune-Krickau of the Hamburg University of Technology developed a range analysis of electrically-powered aircraft in co-operation with DLR as well. "The departure towards sustainable aviation was clearly visible at the 2022 Young Talent Award," Baigent noted, adding, "Recruiting talented young professionals is an acute issue in aviation. Companies are finding it harder to hire suitable candidates. Meanwhile, Airbus is looking to ramp up production and Lufthansa Technik has over 130 vacancies at present."

Angus Baigent, Hamburg Aviation
© Daniel_Reinhardt
Angus Baigent, Hamburg Aviation
Aircraft Interiors Expo
© Lufthansa Technik.
Novel ideas for the future of aviation

Aviation in 2023

Aviation holds plenty of opportunities and especially on June 6, 2023 when the prestigious Crystal Cabin Awards  will be presented in the Chamber of Commerce during the Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) from June 6-8. Innovations in aircraft cabins or passenger comfort will be awarded in eight categories. "Hamburg is an international centre of excellence in the field of cabin interiors. Our city is particularly well suited to host the world's leading aircraft cabin show," Baigent pointed out. More than 600 exhibitors will showcase their novelties "including ideas that are so groundbreaking they will probably never actually make it to line operations, but will still influence ideas later".


A fortnight later, the international Paris Air Show gets underway from June 19-25, 2023. The event is among the world's most important aviation trade fairs, Baigent pointed out. "We and our partners are organising the presence of the Hamburg Metropolitan Region and are looking forward to a strong number of companies from Hamburg and the surrounding region. The last Paris Air Show had to be cancelled due to the pandemic, so we're looking forward to the event in 2023 even more, ​" he added.

Read the other parts in our series:

Hamburg becoming even more resilient economic centre

1) Where is the media centre Hamburg heading?

2) Energy crisis driving switch to renewables

3) Port of Hamburg proving logistics hub and real innovation lab

4) Tourism in Hamburg on robust recovery course

5) Creative industries adopting cross-innovation approaches