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A Good Neighbourhood - DLR and Cologne Bonn Airport to Work Together More Closely in Future



DLR and Cologne Bonn Airport to Work Together More Closely in Future


If there is a central location for aviation in North Rhine-Westphalia, then it is in the south of Cologne, at the edge of the Wahner Heide heathland. Research, industry and safety are right next to each other here. In future, the Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) [German Aerospace Center] and “Konrad Adenauer” Cologne Bonn Airport will be increasing this geographic and thematic proximity within the context of more intensive cooperation. On 15 November 2021, this was affirmed in a cooperation agreement.


DLR and Flughafen Köln/Bonn GmbH are major players in aviation and aerospace in the Cologne/Bonn region. This cluster is completed by the Federal Armed Forces’ Wahn Luftwaffe barracks and the Special Air Mission Wing of the Federal Ministry of Defence (BMVG). The EASA (European Union Aviation Safety Agency) also has its headquarters in Cologne. As a result, the Cologne/Bonn region plays a special role in the aviation and aerospace industry, at state and national level, as well as at a European level.


“Our proximity to our partners from business and industry puts us in a very good starting position for targeted research. Thanks to the direct exchange with the users of our research results, we can speed up innovation cycles, ultimately leading to more environmentally friendly technologies being used sooner,” said DLR Board Member Klaus Hamacher at the signing of the cooperation agreement.


“For us, DLR is an important local and strategic partner. The cooperation agreement is designed not only to foster exchange, but also innovative approaches in airport management and infrastructure. One of our joint, long-term goals is to become an emission-free site with respect to CO2,” said Johan Vanneste, President and CEO of Flughafen Köln/Bonn GmbH.


As we move towards more climate and environmentally friendly mobility, the challenges at airports as part of the air transport system are many and complex. For this reason, one goal of the intended cooperation between DLR and Cologne Bonn Airport is to use the core competencies of science to develop new concepts and technologies at the airport. The spectrum is very broad, and the areas of application could range from the tower and the apron right up to passenger check-in and arrivals.


Specific projects are initiated by a joint working group that regularly discusses new developments. The first topics have already been defined for the start of the cooperation:


Climate and Environmentally Friendly Location


The long-term goal of both companies is to be a CO2 emission-free location. In a working group, experiences will be exchanged, skills bundled and potentials for linking infrastructure and mobility will be explored. The spectrum ranges from optimising energy management, energy generation from regenerative energy sources to the use of new autonomous mobility systems.


Innovative Solutions in Airport Operation and Infrastructure


This exchange is about planning strategic airport development. This entails optimising the airport infrastructure and its mode of operation to permanently reduce effects caused by operations by means of innovative solutions. In air traffic, this means contributing to increasing eco-efficiency and securing the future of technologies.


About the Partners


The Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e. V. (DLR) [German Aerospace Center] is the Federal Republic of Germany’s research centre for aviation and aerospace. Aviation, aerospace, transport, energy, digitisation, and safety are the research fields that are explored in nine research facilities at DLR Cologne. Large-scale testing facilities, for example, wind tunnels, engine and material test beds and a high-density solar furnace are the backbone of research and development. The Cologne site is also the headquarters of the DLR Board and the central administration. DLR Technology Marketing as an interface between research and industry has its headquarters here, as does DLR Quality and Product Assurance. The European Space Agency (ESA) EAC Astronaut Centre is on the 55-hectare site, which opened in 1959, as well as the DLR’s research and central facilities. The most modern wind tunnel in Europe, the European Transonic Wind Tunnel (ETW) and Cologne Bonn Airport are in the immediate vicinity. The DLR has around 1,600 employees in Cologne-Porz.


Thanks to its 24/7 operating permit, “Konrad Adenauer” Cologne Bonn Airport is one of the most important cargo hubs in Europe in the Courier, Express and Parcel sector (CEP sector) and the only location in Germany at which all four global players (UPS, FedEx, DHL and Amazon) in express cargo are represented. UPS, FedEx and DHL also have dedicated logistics centres in Cologne Bonn. With passenger traffic and air cargo, the airport has two business segments of almost the same size. More than 12 million passengers used the airport in 2019. With just under 15,000 employees, the airport campus is the biggest employer in Cologne-Porz and an important economic factor. The airport operator is Flughafen Köln/Bonn GmbH (FKB). FKB does not define its success in purely economic terms, but also in ecological and social terms, by managing efficiently, consciously using resources and taking responsibility. FKB has been growing with a neutral impact on the climate. The next goal is to halve CO2 emissions by 2030.


Caption (free of charge): Satellite image of Cologne Bonn Airport with the German Aerospace Center in the south.

Satellite image CGN + DLR
Satellite image CGN + DLR

Satel­liten­bild des Flughafens Köln/Bonn und dem südlich davon gele­ge­nen DLR-Gelände.

JPG 162 kB

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