Chancellor Merkel, the Federal Ministers Altmaier and Scheuer and Saxony's Prime Minister Kretschmer arrive at Leipzig / Halle Airport.

© bpa/Sandra Steins

Climate and environmentally friendly aviation, international competitiveness, good and secure jobs – these were the key topics of the first National Aviation Conference, which was held in the DHL hangar at Leipzig/Halle Airport today. The conference was jointly hosted by Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier, Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure Andreas Scheuer, and Minister-President of Saxony Michael Kretschmer.

The highlight of the event was the signing of the Leipzig Statement for the Future of Aviation (PDF, 192 KB) (in German). The signatories included the Federal Ministers Altmaier and Scheuer, Michael Kretschmer (Minister-President of the Free State of Saxony), Kristina Vogt (Senator for Economy, Labour and Europe and Chairwoman of the Conference of Economic Affairs Ministers), Tarek Al-Wazir (Minister of State and Deputy Minister-President acting on behalf of the Chairwoman of the Conference of Transport Ministers), Dr Klaus Richter (President of the German Aerospace Industries Association), Jörg Hofmann (1st Chairman of IG Metall), Prof. Klaus-Dieter Scheurle (President of the German Air Transport Industry Association) and Christine Behle (Member of the Verdi Federal Executive Board).

The Leipzig Statement sets out key fields of action that are to be jointly promoted. They include environmentally and climate-friendly technologies, digitisation and new mobility, as well as modern and secure workplaces. The statement will provide the basis for the forthcoming revision of the Federal Government's aviation strategy.

Federal Minister Altmaier commended the close cooperation between policymakers, industry and trade unions. He stressed that eco-efficient technologies are highly important for increasing environmental protection and combating climate change, and not least for greater growth, employment and international market success. He said: “Electric and hybrid-electric propulsions for aircraft are key elements of strategic industrial policy. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy will do its part to ensure that such technologies will be available in time for when the next generation of aircraft starts to be developed”.

Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer stated: “Our ministry wants to promote technologies rather than prohibit them and seeks to make clean and synthetic fuels cheaper. We are working to ensure that the revenues from the aviation tax are used for driving research and innovation as well as achieving climate targets. We want technology that enables as much carbon dioxide to be used as fuel source as is released from the engine of the aircraft. I do not want low-cost flying to win out. The aviation industry must focus on quality and clean technologies. We will continue to pursue a technology-neutral and intermodal approach in this regard. When we think about changes in air traffic, we do not do so without taking other modes of transport into account, above all the railways. We want to develop a system that allows Germany to remain mobile and successful, while becoming more innovative and climate-friendly”.

Minister-President Michael Kretschmer went on to stress the following: “The aviation industry is an important driver of technology for our country and for Europe. The National Aviation Conference, which is taking place here at this rapidly growing international air freight hub in the heart of Europe, provides a good opportunity to discuss important, forward-looking topics such as mobility, eco-efficient technologies and strategic issues, and to move these forward. With its excellent network of universities and research institutions, Saxony is very well positioned in this field and, has much to offer, for example its special expertise in the development of new lightweight construction materials”. Furthermore, Mr Kretschmer mentioned the planned construction of a new aircraft plant in the Leipzig region, which will create several hundred new jobs: “This is great for Leipzig, Saxony and the whole of Germany as a hub for aviation”.

The National Aviation Conference will be held every two years in a different federal state, alternating with the Berlin Air Show (ILA).