Hamburg’s Center of Applied Aeronautical Research
The ZAL Mission

ZAL – Hamburg’s Center of Applied Aeronautical Research – is the technological research and development network of the civil aviation industry in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region. It functions as an interface between academic & research institutions, the aviation sector, and the City of Hamburg, aimed at securing and continually expanding the world’s third largest civil aviation location in Hamburg. Working together closely with the aviation cluster, Hamburg Aviation, ZAL bundles the technological competence of the city in a single facility, the ZAL TechCenter, thereby creating synergy.

ZAL’s focus is on the integration and industrialization of aviation technologies. To achieve this, ZAL networks industry and science, establishing an application-oriented think-tank culture, and making the very latest research and development infrastructure available to its partners.

In this way, fusing the specific expertise of its partners, ZAL supports the widest range of research and development projects in the field of civil aviation – projects that are jointly owned and jointly developed by all participants working together as partners. The constant focus on the latest technological developments means that ZAL is the birthplace of visionary ideas. After a lengthy development and test phase, these ideas grow into innovative products for the international aviation industry.

ZAL is thus making a substantial contribution to the creation of a new form of cooperation between the academic and engineering sectors. At the same time, ZAL is honing the city’s international profile in the applied aeronautical research market, embodying an additional commercial magnet for the Hamburg Metropolitan Region.

ZAL TechCenter
Research & development under one roof

Guided by the motto, “Research and develop under one roof” the ZAL TechCenter opened at the beginning of 2016. What makes the research center is the opportunity it offers interested players to integrate their activities with partners on a spatial level, becoming part of an international aviation research network. With a working area of more than 26,000 square meters, the ZAL TechCenter provides space for around 600 workplaces in offices, laboratories, and hangars. Equipped with a sophisticated research and test infrastructure for selected aspects of aviation, the site empowers the industrialization of new technologies.

Within ZAL, the technology fields are organised in three so-called Center of Competence (CoC). The CoCs incorporate the know-how of around forty specialists. Beyond this, ZAL supports its partners in acquiring public funding and in patent issues, thereby facilitating the success of joint projects.


ZAL Zentrum für Angewandte Luftfahrtforschung GmbH
The Hamburg Aviation Cluster’s technology competence

The establishment of ZAL, the Center of Applied Aeronautical Research, is a logical building block in the ongoing development of the Aviation Cluster Hamburg Metropolitan Region. In June 2009, one year after the cluster was recognized as Germany’s Leading-Edge Cluster, the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, together with eight strong partners, established ZAL as a public-private partnership.

The selected shareholder structure, consisting of representatives from the political, industrial, and academic spheres, makes it possible for ZAL to act flexibly, as an SME, and to neutrally involve all partners on an equal level. ZAL’s task is to function as a driving force, coordinator, and research platform, further expanding the technological competence of the region’s aviation industry, and to enhance the profile of the global civil aviation industry’s third-largest site.

ZAL, the Center of Applied Aeronautical Research, was established by nine partners in 2009. The shareholders are the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, Airbus Operations GmbH, and Lufthansa Technik AG, each with a 20% stake; the Association for the Promotion of Applied Aeronautical Research, with an 18% stake;

the German Aerospace Center (DLR), with a 10% stake; and four Hamburg Universities, the Hamburg University of Technology, the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, the Helmut Schmidt University of the Federal Armed Forces Hamburg, and the University of Hamburg, each holding 3%.

Association for the Promotion of Applied Aeronautical Research
Combining strengths and facilitating synergy

The structure of the Association is made up of three different groups. This includes institutional members supporting ZAL financially and with ideas, the two major industrial associations (Hanse Aerospace and Hecas) bringing the cluster as a whole into ZAL, and companies

interested in the network. Members have the opportunity to participate in the creation of an aviation research network, having an influence on future technological directions.

The Association makes it possible for its members to:
  • become involved early in the research and development processes of OEMs and 1st tier suppliers
    • tight integration with Airbus R&T Plateau in ZAL TechCenter
    • visibility of technological capabilities vis-à-vis Airbus, LHT, 1st tier suppliers and other technology companies in the aviation sector
  • access expertise sources within SMEs and academic/research environment
    • networking activities / partner scouting
    • shared visibility workshops
    • seminars
  • benefit from improved access to public funding
    • funding & patent advice
    • working on cooperative and network projects “under one roof” increases the probability of receiving funding
  • participate in workshops and seminars and make use of consulting services
    • ZAL Forums on various specialist subjects
Executive Board
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Administration & HR
Property Management ZAL TechCenter