Sustainable Aero Lab launches

New international project in Hamburg to accelerate sustainable aviation - special emphasis on start-ups
17 February 2021

Numerous partners and initiatives in Hamburg have joined ranks to launch the Sustainable Aero Lab to fast-track startups and projects across the globe that can tangibly reduce aviation’s impact on the climate. Although global air travel has been severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, the effects of climate change will dramatically influence aviation and its business models in the coming decades. This holds an enormous opportunity for the aviation industry to regain a revolutionary state of mind and to unlock new fields of technology, business and co-operation especially in Hamburg, which counts among the world's largest aviation centres. 

Magnet for diverse aviation stakeholders

The new programme brings together global founders, researchers, entrepreneurs, industry professionals and investors to build the future of aviation. The lab is to become a globally active driver of the debate on sustainable technologies in aviation and will drive forward the startup scene and strengthen Hamburg's position as an aviation centre. The targeted networking of different industries will be promoted under the motto "Think global, act local" in accordance with the cross-cluster strategy. Michael Westhagemann, Senator for Economics and Innovation, remarked: “The sustainable change that the aviation industry is facing will come with many new opportunities. To unlock these, we need open discussions and greater speed. The Sustainable Aero Lab will focus on exactly these points.”

Crisis as catalyst of innovation 

Hamburg strives to be a “leader in the development of sustainable aviation technologies”, Westhagemann added. The Hanseatic city pools, among others, the industry leaders Airbus and Lufthansa Technik as well as the Centre for Applied Aviation Research (ZAL) and the Hamburg Aviation cluster. Opportunity lies in innovation despite the severe blow dealt by the pandemic to aviation, Westhagemann pointed out, adding: “The history of aviation shows that the industry has always been the most innovative amid global crises.”

Mentors to assist start-ups 

To achieve this, the Sustainable Aero Lab will bring together startups, mentors, investors and industry players into one room where founders receive highly focused feedback in a transparent live session four times a year. The first session will be held virtually on February 18, 2021. The Sustainable Aero Lab is a project driven by Hamburg-based Density Ventures, which will work closely with the associated partners, Hamburg Aviation cluster and ZAL. The lab is backed by the Ministry of Economics and Innovation and funded by the Innovations- und Förderbank Hamburg (IFB Hamburg). More information on how to apply for the first season of the programme can be found on the Sustainable Aero Lab website.

IFB Hamburg

The Hamburgische Investitions- und Förderbank (IFB Hamburg) supports housing and economic development as well as environmental protection and innovation projects. IFB Hamburg is the main point of contact for private individuals, companies and institutions in Hamburg and advises about all of Hamburg's funding offers and those of the German government and the European Union. More information can be found on: