Members of the Board,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It will not have escaped your notice that this evening offers excellent views and prospects. Superb views of the River Elbe and – if we’re lucky – of giant container ships and pilot vessels. Excellent views of Airbus and prospects for Airbus.
On behalf of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg let me bid you a warm welcome to the Louis C. Jacob Hotel. No other venue in the city could be more appropriate for this gathering. Not only do shipping and aviation share common ground here; the Louis C. Jacob Hotel can also look back on a Franco-German past.
It all began in 1780, when Nikolaus Paridom Burmester, a master confectioner, inherited the premises on the Elbchaussee. Burmester had a somewhat unusual pastime: he was very keen on pyrotechnics and would welcome ships entering and leaving the port with salutes from a gun he made himself. As you can imagine, this was a pastime fraught with danger. In 1790, he packed some extra gunpowder into the salute he fired and the result was a fatal explosion. All of a sudden his wife, Maria Elisabeth, was on her own in the flourishing patisserie.
As luck would have it, Daniel Louis Jacques – a French Huguenot fleeing the turmoil of the French Revolution – found himself stranded on the River Elbe. The couple fell in love, married in 1791 and Monsieur Jacques became known as Herr Jacob. A trained landscape gardener, he wasted no time in laying out the famous Lindenterrasse the very same year and began spoiling his guests with choice wines and sophisticated dishes.
Today the Louis C. Jacob Hotel affords a magnificent view of the flourishing Airbus plant. That is one reason why Hamburg is now the world’s third-largest civil aviation centre. Some 40,000 highly qualified staff are now employed in over 300 companies and institutions in this sector. They build and service aircraft, design cabins, IT solutions and the air transport system of the future.
We know very well that in many areas the success story of aviation in Hamburg bears the Airbus stamp. Hamburg and the surrounding metropolitan region are home to several of the company’s strategic business areas: the single-aisle production centre, the A380 delivery centre and the cabin competence centre. Lightweight composites and 3D printing are among the pioneering innovations which are being developed and tested here. That makes us feel very proud.
We aim to continue this success story together. Two new German Aerospace Centre institutes will open in Hamburg in November; they will further enhance our successful aviation cluster. We are also looking forward to the inauguration of the fourth final assembly line. New processes and production tools are available to handle the increase in production rates in the small aircraft family. Robots are also being deployed. The City of Hamburg is cooperating closely with Airbus in the extension and modernisation of its production facilities – in order to train skilled workers on the spot, for instance.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today you visited the Technology Centre of the Centre for Applied Aviation Research (ZAL) in Finkenwerder. Some 600 members of staff are employed there on a 25,000 square metre site researching and working on issues that will affect the future of aviation. I never fail to be impressed whenever I walk through the halls there.
In the space of just over one year the Centre for Applied Aviation Research has proved so successful that an extension is already being contemplated. Airbus is involved in 3D printing, too. A team of employees from Airbus, the Laser Centre North and Hamburg universities is working on the development of additive manufacturing processes. Last year it was awarded the Federal President’s German Future Prize.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Short distances, excellent connections and successful cross-border cooperation between companies and institutions provided the port of Hamburg with a solid foundation for its activities over the centuries, and now they are helping our aviation location to blossom as well. The cluster we have built up comprising Hamburg Aviation, the Hamburg Centre of Aviation Training and the Centre for Applied Aviation Research has received international awards and is the envy of many other locations. It would give me great pleasure if you, too, were to make extensive use of the advantages this unique network has to offer.
Let us pool our efforts to ensure that the prospects remain excellent and the aviation industry can continue to look to the future with boldness and far-sightedness.
I am delighted that we are spending the evening here together on the banks of the River Elbe.
Thank you for your attention.