The 30th AERO international aviation trade show began today. Two main topics are in the focus of the globally important trade show: On the one hand, the relaunch of General Aviation after the Corona pandemic and, on the other, a comprehensive sustainability initiative that involves the whole industry. All the major General Aviation companies are present at the event at the shores of Lake Constance.
“This year’s AERO is the most important AERO ever,” emphasizes AERO organizer Roland Bosch, who handed over the event’s project management to Tobias Bretzel yesterday with the start of the leading global trade show for General Aviation. Bosch will, however, remain with AERO as a senior consultant.
633 exhibitors are showcasing their products and services at AERO this year. The need for the show is underscored by the large number of new aircraft and products on display at the four-day event, which runs from April 27 to 30. Kyle Martin, vice president, European Affairs at the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) explains, “The industry has had a banner year with 2021. However, we have the challenge of needing new pilots, engineers and technicians. GAMA has launched a diversity and inclusion initiative in aviation to inspire people to get involved in aviation. Aviation is without a doubt an exciting employer.”
Dr. Nicolas von Mende, CEO Atlas Air Service AG says at the start of the trade show: “We found quite a few new customers during the pandemic. Already in August 2020, we saw a recovery in flight activity, and in 2021 we flew more than before Corona. The increase in flight activity continues, so maintenance activity also increased, which is positive for all maintenance companies. The supply chain is less of a challenge than the shortage of skilled labor. Germany and the EU countries are able to attract young people and keep them in the industry. 10 percent of Atlas Air Service’s workforce are apprentices, and most stay. In other countries such as the U.S., this problem is greater.”
Dominating topics at AERO are aviation’s efforts to become more sustainable. Show visitors can find out about the current status of the development of new propulsion technologies and sustainably produced fuels. For example, Stuttgart-based company H2FLY will showcase the HY4, an aircraft that flew from Stuttgart to Friedrichshafen with zero emissions using green hydrogen. Only one day after landing, the aircraft set a new record for hydrogen-electric-powered aircraft on a flight in Friedrichshafen, reaching an altitude of 7,230 feet (2,203 meters). H2FLY is developing its propulsion system as a scalable unit that will also be used to fly a 40-seat regional aircraft with a range of around 2,000 kilometers from 2025. Prof. Dr. Ing. Josef Kallo, the co-founder and CEO of H2FLY: “We have to manage to realize large amounts of transport capacity with the new efficient fuel hydrogen. If we really want to change and minimize emissions, we need efficiency in energy supply and fuels: The currency of the next few years is energy.”
The aviation industry is investing heavily in sustainability. AERO highlights companies that are particularly dedicated to this topic through the new AERO Sustainable Aviation Trail. This will be specially marked by green balloons above the stands of the participating companies. In addition to new propulsion systems, special lightweight designs and forward-looking technologies, the trail will also feature energy companies that have begun to offer sustainably produced fuels for aviation to replace fuels from fossil sources.
Suppliers are optimistic about the future after the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, in part because they have developed new equipment and instruments that make pilots’ jobs easier and further enhance flight safety. Trevor Pegrum, EMEA Aviation Sales & Marketing Manager at Garmin International, explained at the industry forum at the start of AERO: “The avionics industry has never been healthier and is investing huge sums in innovation. New technologies are making aircraft safer. The pandemic has held some surprises: During the lockdown, people continued to invest in new equipment, especially autopilots. Glass cockpits continue to grow in popularity, and pilot acceptance is also on the rise. We’ve only been able to meet our customers online for the past two years. But online consulting is not the same as meeting in person. We are happy to be here at AERO. It’s never been busier at the Garmin booth than this year.”
Ultralight and LSA aircraft have always formed a very innovative segment of General Aviation. They are always strongly represented at AERO – and 2022 is no exception. Dirk Ketelsen, the CEO of Breezer Aircraft GmbH & Co KG: “We are experiencing good reception. The introduction of the 600-kg class has led to increased demand. We are also seeing that autopilots are popular because of the increased safety. We produce nearly everything ourselves, we only buy the engines and the avionics, but the aircraft are ‘made in Germany’.”
Dr. Frank Liemandt, spokesman for the German Helicopter Association (DHV), explained in the industry forum, “The helicopter industry has come well through another difficult year. This is mainly due to the versatility of the operational areas. The importance of helicopters was again clearly demonstrated during the flood disaster in summer of 2021 in Germany, among other things. Another special highlight was that we were able to host the premiere of the EUROPEAN ROTORS, which means we now have an annual VTOL show in Europe again, this year once again in Cologne.”
Aviation can look back on a tradition of more than 100 years: Junkers Flugzeugwerke AG is transferring that tradition into the future by building original replicas of the Junkers F13, the world’s first commercial airliner, as well as the Junkers A50 and the A60 – each as new aircraft that meet today’s standards. At AERO, Junkers Flugzeugwerke presented the concept of a replica of the famous Junkers Ju 52, which will fly again in the future as a new aircraft with new RED A03 engines.