"The ILA would not be the ILA if it ceased to amaze us with impressive innovations in the aerospace sector," said Chancellor Angela Merkel at the opening of the leading event in the annual calendar of the aerospace industry. "This year is no exception." Turkish Transport Minister Lütfi Elvan accompanied the Chancellor.
On their tour of the Air Show Angela Merkel and Lütfi Elvan inspected the new Airbus A 350. They also visited the pavilion of the Bundeswehr and the German Aerospace Industries Association.
"Aerospace plays a key strategic role for Germany as a whole as an industrial base," said Angela Merkel. The German government will accord special attention to this high-tech branch, she said. Angela Merkel declared her conviction that, at the ILA, existing cooperation arrangements will be consolidated and new business contacts established.
The ILA Berlin Air Show will run until 25 May in Schönefeld, on the southern edge of Berlin. The ILA was first held in 1909, making it the world’s oldest air show. It is held every two years in Berlin/Brandenburg. Since 2012 it has been held at the new "Berlin ExpoCenter Airport". The organiser is the German Aerospace Industries Association (BDLI) and Messe Berlin.
The aerospace industry provides jobs for some 105,500 people, and the total workforce is growing robustly. In 2013 the total number of employees in the industry rose by 4.8 per cent. Sales rose by 7.8 per cent to 30.6 billion euros.
Civilian aviation was responsible for 69 per cent of this rise in sales. As one might expect, Germany’s aerospace industry invests heavily in research and development (R & D). Last year companies in this sector spent about 15 per cent of turnover on R & D. Exports remained stable, at about 60 per cent.
To support the competitiveness of the German aeronautics branch, the German government runs a separate aeronautics research programme. For the period 2009 to 2013, 401 million euros were available for the programme.
Space applications and research receive about one billion euros a year from the German government. Alongside space research conducted at the national aeronautics and space research centre of the Federal Republic of Germany (DLR), Germany’s membership of the European Space Agency (ESA) is a very important factor.