ladies and gentlemen,
a new airplane rolling out of the hangar is a reason to feel a little reverential. Especially as the A320neo is such a splendid bird – elegant on the outside and highly intelligent on the inside. Most notably it is a more considerate, quiet and cleaner bird than its forefathers. So, congratulations to all those who have developed and built this plane – and to those who are going to buy it.
Obviously, word of this has gotten around because the Airbus order books are full. The orders Lufthansa has placed alone cause respect. They strengthen Hamburg as an aviation site and secure jobs not only at Airbus, but also in the smaller and medium-sized component suppliers. And more than that, they show us the way towards the future of modern aviation.
The demand for kerosene-saving and decidedly more quiet airplanes is considerable. And it is exactly in these areas that the economical New-Engine-Technology sets new standards for the whole industry. Hamburg’s Aviation Cluster that ties together development, production and marketing from the start had a hand in implementing the new technology speedily, by the way.
The Neo-Fleet ‘Made in Hamburg’ – and ‘Made in Europe’ – puts Lufthansa at the forefront of technical innovation. Up to 20 per cent less fuel consumption and decidedly lower noise emissions – a very strong achievement indeed. Hamburg with her inner-city airport will profit largely from that. We have made substantial investments at the airport in active and passive noise prevention, and setting landing and starting fees contingent on emissions motivates environmental measures from the airlines. But in the long run, what we really need are more efficient and quiet airplanes, and many of them.
The new TechCenter at the Zentrum für angewandte Luftfahrtforschung (Center for Applied Aviation Research) which we will inaugurate on March 7th in Hamburg-Finkenwerder is going to play a central role in developing future technologies. In the ZAL Airbus will – together with partners like Lufthansa’s technology branch – devise tomorrow’s airplanes and will be able to use the most advanced testing and research facilities. The fact that this shortens the road from innovation to production and then sale radically should be an extra motivation for all concerned. Whether we are talking about fuel cells for the cabin, 3D-printers or smart technologies – all these innovations will gain momentum against the background of quota increase at Airbus.
We’re also doing well in the production sector. Final assembly and delivery of more than half of the jets of the A320 family – including Neo – take place in Hamburg. In 2019, a fourth final assembly line will be added. Lufthansa, too, orders in Finkenwerder. This is where they procure hull segments for their first A350 and the impressive number of 116 A320neo – an airplane that sets new standards for other airlines. With due Hanseatic reserve, I think we may say that as far as aviation is concerned Hamburg is properly prepared for the future.
Ladies and gentlemen,
as the cranes return from their winter quarters in the South, we will soon again see their v-shaped formations in the sky above the Elbe river. And we will hear them trumpet their flight and courtship calls that mock any attempts at noise reduction. A single formation consists of up to 1500 birds – and the more birds in the sky the more impressive their flight. Cranes need other cranes to live up to their full potential – MANY other cranes. It was really very far-sighted of Lufthansa to choose this bird as their heraldic animal. I hope for both Lufthansa and Airbus that many more cranes may hatch on Finkenwerder, named providentially after a bird: the Finch.
I wish all Neo-cranes strong winds beneath their wings and many happy landings.