Hamburg Forum



The Aviation Forum is a modern business to business networking event to connect global suppliers and aviation partners with some of the largest aircraft manufacturers in the world. Now in its eighth year, the event is continuing to move forwards increasing its reach, expanding its venues and more than doubling its participation.

As the aviation industry moves forwards with digitally enhanced supply chains (shared supply ledgers utilising blockchain and cryptocurrencies) there is a danger that the human element in a partnership will dwindle. Trade events such as the Aviation Forum will increasingly prove to be important in reaffirming existing partnerships and providing new opportunities for suppliers and their solutions.

Aviation Focused spoke with the Aviation Forum team to look at the rise of the event, its progress since its inception and its goals.

We started to organise the AVIATION FORUM Hamburg in 2010 together with Dr. Klaus Richter, Chief Procurement Officer Airbus and Patron of the Forum. Since the beginning of the first forum, the number of participants has risen from 300 to 750. The accompanying exhibition has tripled in size. There is no other conference in the world with 80 Airbus Procurement representatives participating. Since then, the AVIATION FORUM is a key platform for Airbus and other OEMs such as Boeing to connect with global suppliers and partners.


The event keeps growing every year – here are the greatest milestones:

  • 2013: first Boeing C-Level Keynote
  • 2015: 5 years partnership with Airbus and over 500 people participated at the 5th AVIATION FORUM Hamburg with over 50 exhibitors
  • 2017: move from the Congress Center Hamburg to a bigger location at the Hamburg Messe and introduction of B2B Meetings at the conference
  • 2018: great increase of the B2B Meetings with Airbus, Boeing, Premium AEROTEC, Liebherr, Spirit AeroSystems, RECARO Aircraft Seating, Rolls-Royce, RUAG Aerospace and MTU Maintenance
  • 2019: first AVIATION FORUM held in Munich, once a year alternately in Hamburg

What attracts exhibitors and visitors to the event? To what values do you attribute Aviation Forum Hamburg’s continuous success?

Key factors are high level speakers and attendees. We focus on C- and VP-Level participants to guarantee efficient networking on all conference days. Another important factor is to avoid marketing and sales presentations. Thus, we take intensive care of speaker and presentation quality . We believe this is also in the very interest of the presenting people – content is king. Moreover, we mix different formats in the conference agenda such as workshops, panel discussions and master class sessions with a varying degree of attendee interaction. The exhibition is used for networking and developing ideas in between the presentations. Therefore, the booths primarily have the purpose of meeting points for small groups of different decision makers. All those aspects differentiate the AVIATION FORUM from other events.

As Erik Goedhart, Senior Vice President Aerospace from Kuehne + Nagel said, “The AVIATION FORUM has become a major annual event in the industry and is one of the most efficient professional meeting and networking events in the year.” – this might be the reason for its continuous success.

Please expand on the benefits of attending the forums, previous success stories, statistics of exhibitors/visitors etc.

  • 750+ Participants
  • 90 Exhibitors
  • 80 Partners and Sponsors
  • B2B Meetings with Airbus, Boeing, Premium AEROTEC, Liebherr Aerospace and Rolls-Royce

The main benefit is that our event gives many SME suppliers of the Aviation value chain the chance to get in touch with many decision makers from OEMs up to Tier 3 suppliers and about 100 Airbus representatives. Hence, our event has great potential to develop new partnerships.

The next forum is 5-7th November. Please tell us what exhibitors and visitors can expect at this event? Are there particular sessions/guest speakers that visitors must look out for? Please also expand on the facilities/venue/location.

This year, we have a pre-conference day just for plant tours and a get-together in the exhibition, so the participants have enough time to get in touch with each other even the day before the actual event. The plant tours to the Airbus A320 FAL and the Lufthansa Technik MRO shop are very popular among our international attendees. We do not focus on having as many presentations as possible. We know the importance of having a refreshment and the value of talking to unexpected upcoming partners while having a short coffee break. Thus, the participants can expect that they have enough possibilities and time to get in contact with any other participating company of their choice.

The conference focus is “Tomorrow’s aerospace supply chain” following the three strategic objectives “global”, “digital” and “smart”. Based on this, we offer exciting keynotes:

  • Klaus Richter speaks about the top 5 challenges in the aerospace supply chain.
  • Philippe Balducchi, Head of the C-Series Integration Project from Airbus, will talk about the impact of the Bombardier deal on the supply chain of Airbus .
  • Gil Michielin, CEO Avionics GBU of the Thales Group holds a presentation about “Ground Centric Avionic: The digital transformation of aerospace”.

One of our highlights, which is interesting to nearly every aerospace company, are our B2B Meetings. We have started to organise our B2B Meetings at last year’s AVIATION FORUM Hamburg. Now, we can present even better organized meetings with even more procurement agents from Airbus, Boeing, Premium AEROTEC, Liebherr, Spirit AeroSystems, RECARO Aircraft Seating, Rolls-Royce, RUAG Aerospace, MTU Maintenance and more upcoming companies.

Another highlight is our Gala Dinner which is the ultimate possibility to get in touch with unexpected upcoming business partners from the whole supply chain giving the participants  completely new potentials and opportunities on the evening of the first conference day.

An event of this scale must require quite some planning. How long does it take to organise? How many personnel are involved with organising and running the event on the week of the show?

We kick-off the project 2 years before the actual event takes place. As soon as the event is over on November 7th, we directly start evaluating new possibilities for next year’s event.

The project leader is Tony Brandstätter with Carlo Schawara as the Sales- and Marketing assistant for the AVIATION FORUM. Topics and speakers are discussed together with our competence partner Airbus. At the 2018 event, a group of appx. 30 people is involved.


How do you envisage the forums moving forward? Are you looking to continue to expand the event? What is the ultimate goal?

The ultimate goal is to produce the best premium B2B event for the aerospace supply chain! The AVIATION FORUM becomes more popular every year so we’re planning for more participants every year as well.

The 9th edition of the AVIATION FORUM will be in Munich in November 2019. It is the first time that we move to another location. Since Munich is the most important aerospace cluster in Germany besides Hamburg, we hope to convince more people from Bavaria to attend the Forum. In 2020 we are back in Hamburg and so on.

Finally, please tell us about anything you think our readers might like to know about, or anything you would like to emphasise that hasn’t already been mentioned above.

All readers from Aviation Focused receive 10% discount on their participation ticket. The discount promo code is AF18AFOCUSED