The aerospace industry in Berlin and Brandenburg

The aerospace industry has a long history in the Berlin-Brandenburg region. It all began 120 years ago with trial flights made by aviation pioneer Otto Lilienthal. Since then, the capital region has successfully positioned itself as Germany’s third largest aerospace competency centre with more than 185 companies and organisations within the sector.

Representative of the region is the wide spectrum of businesses actively working mostly in the fields of

  • Propulsion technology development and production
  • Light aircraft construction
  • Aircraft servicing and maintenance
  • Production of small satellites and satellite subsystems.
  • Testing, development and production-related services, as well as research, development and application of unmanned flight systems (drones) as well as
  • New Space.

 The Berlin-Brandenburg Aerospace Allianz works together with the Transport, Mobility and Logistics cluster management to further strengthen the region in the stated sectors. Alongside already established fields, new specialisms are also gaining importance in the region. The development of alternative and low emission concepts for aircraft and aircraft propulsion technologies in Berlin and Brandenburg has shown itself to be a particularly innovative and promising field.

Of key importance in demonstrating the aerospace competencies within the region to an international audience is the ILA Berlin. The ILA takes place every two years in Berlin, attracting more than 1000 exhibitors. It has become one of the world’s largest and leading innovation fairs for the aerospace industry. 

Employing around 17,000 people, the aerospace sector is one of the main drivers of growth in the capital region. Aviation in particular is one of the main exports for the state of Brandenburg. In 2018, products and services for the aerospace industry totalled more than 1.5 billion euros, representing around 12 percent of Brandenburg’s total exports. 

Berlin and Brandenburg are among the top locations for engine development and production in Europe. Rolls Royce, one of the leading producers of propulsion systems, develops, produces, services and tests different models of aircraft turbine engines in the region. MTU Maintenance Berlin-Brandenburg maintains low to medium trust and power aircraft propulsion systems and carries out series acceptance tests on the engines for the A400M military transport plane. In addition to this there is a wide and innovative landscape of suppliers, each with their own specific competencies in the areas of maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), testing, simulation, engineering and software development.

Berlin-Brandenburg also has the highest density of airfields in Germany, with a total of 13 authorised airfields. Alongside the large Tegel and Schönefeld airports there are eleven smaller landing strips that are mainly used by businesses, sport and private aircraft. These provide a wide range of options for general and business aviation. Several manufacturers develop and produce single and multi-engine aircraft for use in general aviation. Highly-specialised businesses in the field of commercial aviation also receive international measurement and monitoring contracts. Numerous service providers and flight schools train more professional and commercial airline pilots for the European market than any other state in Germany.

The established activities in the aviation sector have been expanded upon with the addition of unmanned aircraft. This demonstrates a great dynamism for innovative applications and services. More than 60 players involved in research, development and application activities contribute to turning the capital region into a leading centre for automated low altitude flight.

The 52 universities and around 200 public and private research institutions located in the capital region form one of the densest research networks in Europe. Scientific expertise is provided by institutions such as the Technische Universität Berlin, the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg, the Wildau and Brandenburg Universities of Applied Sciences, the Beuth University of Applied Sciences, the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and the Max Planck and Frauhofer institutes.

The space sector in Berlin and Brandenburg is characterised by its focus on small satellites and is experiencing continued growth. Businesses and research institutes in the region develop and construct sub-components such as entire small and nano satellites for a range of different uses. These includes propulsion technologies, lightweight structural components, electronics, optics, laser systems, power supply, measurement devices, communications technology, sensors, simulation software, etc.

One reason for the strong growth seen in the region’s space sector is the rapid expansion of private space flight companies seen in recent years. New technological developments allow global challenges to be tackled. These new technologies have found a wide ranges of uses, from helping to protect agriculture, the environment and predict natural disasters to energy supply, telecommunications and automated transportation. All of which have been brought forward by key advances made by businesses and institutions in the region.

Developers and manufacturers of small and nano satellites based in Berlin-Brandenburg are among the world’s leading pioneers, having quickly gained in importance over the last few years. More than 70 companies and research institutes in the German capital region are actively involved in the space flight sector. Together, their wide range of competencies and specialisations represent a holistic, interdisciplinary competence centre for space technologies and applications.

Space missions go hand in hand with the highest technical requirements. These requirements can only be met through the close collaboration of highly-specialised researches and engineers from different fields. The conditions in Berlin-Brandenburg are optimal for just this kind of research and development collaboration: The dense research network in the region and the establishment of technology centres, particularly in the fields of ICT, photonics, and aerospace ensure that New Space companies can carry out development work to the best of their abilities.