In future, Airbus will largely take responsibility for logistics and warehousing at its largest German location, Hamburg, in order to produce aircraft more flexibly and cost-effectively.

From April onwards, the aircraft manufacturer will be handling the material supply for the cabin equipment of the A320 family in the Hanseatic city independently.

A newly built super-central warehouse is scheduled to start in July.

According to information from WELT AM SONNTAG, a new logistics subsidiary was founded for the conversion.

From Hamburg, Airbus itself also ships large components to the assembly lines in China and the USA.

The partial takeover of the warehouse in Hamburg previously operated by the logistics group Kuehne + Nagel is a fundamental change in strategy at Europe's aircraft manufacturer.

So far, Airbus has transported large components to the final assembly locations using its own transport planes (Beluga), ships or trucks, but does not operate any storage or production logistics.

That is changing now.


In the course of the digitization of industrial production under the keyword "Industry 4.0", this trend is also evident in other sectors with series production.

The group also wants to maintain control of all data in the material flow.

Airbus wants to “monitor the chain from the supplier to the assembly itself for the production of the future.

In this way we can control production with foresight, ”says Sebastian Peters, head of global logistics for Airbus civil aircraft.

"If a part comes later or there is a quality problem, we can intervene in good time," explains Peters.

The largest warehouse in the group

A visible sign of the change in strategy is a new warehouse with 45,000 square meters of floor space near the Hamburg-Finkenwerder plant.

That is the size of more than six soccer fields.

The largest warehouse in the Airbus Group is created.


The building, known internally as the “Sky-Hub”, is to be used to store aircraft seats, kitchens, toilets and much more.

Several hundred new jobs would initially be created.

If more aircraft are built again after the current crisis in the industry, more jobs could be added, says Peters.

Airbus boss Guillaume Faury recently announced slightly higher production again for the second half of the year after the slump due to the Corona crisis.

Nevertheless, last year Airbus was by far the clear winner with 566 (previous year: 863) aircraft delivered, ahead of Boeing with just 157 units.

Under the direction of Airbus boss Faury, who has been in office for almost two years, the group has advanced a strategy for modern digital development and series production.

The integration of state-of-the-art logistics with transport robots is a further component in a comprehensive value chain, it is said.


The Hamburg Airbus plant for the final assembly of the A320 family is already a pioneer in the aircraft construction of the future in the group.

A highly automated assembly line for fuselage structures was put into operation at the end of 2019.

Hamburg single bearings are replaced

The new super warehouse in Hamburg is intended to replace a handful of previous warehouses in the greater Hamburg area.

Head of Logistics Peters speaks of a "lighthouse project" in which the aircraft manufacturer can learn and gain expertise in this area too.

It is a first step.

For the Swiss Kuehne + Nagel Group, a previously lucrative business is being lost with the change in Airbus logistics strategy in Hamburg.

With the Corona crisis, however, the volume collapsed.

Kuehne + Nagel has been working with the aircraft manufacturer since 2003.

First, the services were gradually expanded in Europe and contracts were extended again and again.

In 2017, the Swiss group then lost logistics in France to Hence.

Germany is now following.

The remaining logistics at the Hamburg location and at the Airbus locations in Bremen and Stade will also be taken over by two other providers in the future.

For the Swiss, however, there are still Great Britain and Spain as well as other activities.

Kuehne + Nagel once had a key position in logistics for the giant Airbus A380, whose production was discontinued.

The Swiss logistics group confirmed that it had reached an agreement with Airbus to end the cooperation "in contract logistics in Germany".

All other business relationships between the companies remained unaffected.

This text is from WELT AM SONNTAG.

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