III. Cluster as Provider of Industrial Commons and Related Variety Undergoing the Stretching Process

HAv Hamburg Aviation Cluster

Regional Specialisation and Cluster Profile

Aerospace is a highly clustered industry with firms displaying significant differences along different dimensions—geographical, internal capabilities or innovation outcomes (Speldekamp, Rnoben & Saka-Helmliout, 2019). The aviation industry is one of the most complex and knowledge-intense industries (Redlich, Moritz & Wulfsberg, 2019), with a low degree of openness. Start-ups here are seldom able to access the respective large firms’ infrastructure.

Hamburg aviation cluster represents one of the aerospace clusters identified in developed countries (Turkina & Van Assche, 2018). HAv is unique, as it combines both cluster and the Hamburg Metropolitan Region, which counts for more than 5.3 million residents (in Hamburg alone, 1.8 million), with a GDP of more than 205 billion euro. It encompasses four federal states and 20 counties with core industries such as aviation, renewable energy, logistics, maritime, life science, media and tourism.

The information concerning Hamburg’s (regional/sectoral) specialisation (RV) can be found on the S3 Platform—Research and Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialisation—which is a free online tool and a comprehensive guide for creating, monitoring and updating Smart Specialisation Strategies (http://relatedvariety.s3platfonn.eu/results.php?region=Hamburg, accessed 15.01.2019). The RV analysis, available on the online S3 Platform, shows first, a particular region, and the sectors it is hosting; next, it filters these sectors that fiilfil the criteria of location quotient (LQ) (sector specialisation in regional employment), i.e. are concentrated with critical mass. It also offers insight into those sectors, which have patent specialisation and are correlated, hi Hamburg apparently, it is known as the ‘manufacture of other transport equipment’.

In Germany, the major spatial agglomerations of the aviation industry can be found in the Metropolitan Region of Hamburg which specialises in civil aviation, and in Bavaria, where several sites of the Airbus Military and Defence segment are located (Buxbaum-Conradi, 2018). The aerospace LQ, which informs what makes a region ‘unique’ in comparison to the national average, equals 4.4 for Hamburg, implying that this sector is more than four times more concentrated in the region than the national average (55th HAv Forum, June, 2019). More than 41 thousand people have been employed in the aerospace sector, indicating the workforce’s growth of 3% in the period, 2012-2017. The per capita value added of 126,000 euros, generated by 41,200 employees, in around 300 companies of the aviation sector in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region, exceeds the economic performance of the whole metropolitan region (74,599 euros per capita), as revealed by the market analysis, jointly produced by the YDI/YDE Institute for Innovation and Technology and Hamburg Aviation (Die Luftfahrt-Branche in der Metropolregion Hamburg, 2019). It implies the industry’s higher than average productivity. The activities of HAv cover the related sectors of aeronautics (mathematics, engineering and lighter flight objects), aviation (engineering, design and manufacturing of aircraft) and aerospace (satellites, missiles and aircraft spaceships).

Aviation has a long tradition in Hamburg; hence, the cluster development reflects the path dependence processes from the early pioneers at the start of the 20th century (Buxbaum-Conradi, 2018). Aircraft were being built and tested in Hamburg, already in 1909. The foundation stone of the airport was laid in 1911. In the 1920s and 1930s, aircraft manufacture in Hamburg blossomed, but the military appropriated it during WW2. Aircraft, once again, were being produced in Hamburg in the mid-1950s, and Lufthansa built its technical base in 1955. In 1969, the Franco-German Airbus programme— critical as it mined out for the whole region—was initiated.

HAv is considered as the world’s third most significant cluster of the aerospace industry after Seattle, with Boeing Headquarters and Toulouse hosting the Airbus Headquarters (Buxbaum-Conradi, 2018).

Cluster Structure and Activities

Hamburg Aviation is a cluster, in terms of spatial agglomeration of related sectors, but also, in terms of CO. Today’s cluster HAv e.V. understood as registered association with the proper cluster management, was bom in 2011, but the Hamburg Aviation Initiative was set up, previously, in 2001. The mission of HAv is to build aircraft, in particular cabins, to optimise the operation of air transport systems, to provide various aviation-related services and to master specialisation in aviation IT and communications.

HAv regards itself as a powerful alliance gathering business, science and politics, which launches various aviation-related initiatives and projects. Whereas the Aviation Network embraces all members; the HAv office is responsible for running the projects. The HAv's ultimate goals consist in the networking of films and other institutions, promoting the growth of specialist personnel, expanding the transfer of knowledge and improving the local business environment. It also seeks to diagnose, and subsequently, fill the possible gaps in the process chain, to generate more innovations and extend areas of competency. The HAv activities encompass various formats. There are tailor-made events with intensive networking—the largest being the Hamburg Aviation Forum, which takes place three tunes a year. Here, an average of 200 participants come together and exchange views on trends and technologies in aviation. Other topics that are dealt with in Bar Camps or workshops, for example, range from employer branding and financing to new forms of co-operation. Crystal Cabin Awards awarded by an international jury in various categories can be imagined to be a bit like the aviation industry’s ‘Oscars’.

Three major players of HAv are Airbus, Lufthansa Technik and Hamburg Airport. Airbus factoiy is the place where the entire A320 family of aircraft is constructed, and where the section assembly, ulterior fitting and painting of the A380 (end of production from 2021, announced in February, 2019) take place, as well as essential processes in the construction of the new, long-haul A350. Lufthansa Technik AG headquartered in Hamburg is the world's leading provider of aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services. Hamburg Airport is, not only the oldest airport in the world, still based at its original location; but also, is one of the world’s most modem airports, with more than 14 million passengers every year.

Around this big trio, more than 300 SMEs, of suppliers and service providers, have gathered with a total of more than 40,000 highly qualified personnel. The HAv cluster members (www.hamburg-aviation.de/mitglied. html) comprise large manufacturing companies, as well as small consulting firms. All are obviously active in the metropolitan region, although, often headquartered in other cities. They can be HAv members, as long as they are connected to HAv’s critical supply chain. This business ecosystem is complemented with teaching, training, research institutions, excellent universities and leading research labs. Prominent players are the associations, institutes and research facilities, plus Hamburg’s four universities. The Hamburg Business Development Corporation (HWF) and the Ministry of Economy, Transport and Innovation (BWVI) have also been members from the very beginning. Besides, there are numerous sponsoring members (Buxbaum-Conradi, 2018).

These entities and their activities cover the whole value chain of aviation and complete the life cycle of an aircraft: from the development, manufacturing and assemblage, to the ah transportation system, MRO, to final recycling. It sees itself as the international centre of expertise for ‘new flying’.

Core competences comprise aircraft, transport and cabin systems. Although HAv covers every facet of aviation, it has a particular strength and competitive advantage in interior fittings and the design of aircraft cabins. According to official data from the European Cluster Collaboration Platform (www. clustercollaboration.eu), HAv’s key industries include: Aerospace Vehicles and Defence, and Metalworking Technology. The Technology fields, which are covered, encompass Aeronautical Technology/Avionics and Aircraft.

Iu 2008, HAv won the Leading-Edge Cluster competition organised by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and is benefitting beside the ‘Signalling-Effect’ from wide-ranging research support (Cantner, Graf & Topfer, 2015; Audretsch, Lehmann & Menter, 2016; Rothgang et al, 2017). In 2014, it received the GOLD Label for Cluster Management Excellence by the European Commission, thereby ranking as one of the Top 40 clusters in Europe. It is also one of the winners of the ‘Ausgezeiclmete Orte im Land der Ideen’ 2016 competition and benefits from public funds of the senate in Hamburg (Buxbaum-Conradi, 2018).

In 2014, Hamburg was selected by the EU Commission as one of six model regions for modem cluster policy, aiming at growth innovation and competitiveness (www.hamburg.de/wirtschaft/chisterpolitik-niodellregion/). The city, as represented by the Ministiy, works at bridging its eight clusters, and making them work together. As expressed by one of the interviewed COs, (COl) ‘During the severe economic and financial crisis of 2008+ many feared the slowdown, a significant deterioration of performance by the local economy, yet it did not happen, luckily. It is impossible to define how much it resulted from the cluster policy and the mindset adopted in the region. Nevertheless, it is very likely that without such an approach, the crisis would have unfolded much worse’. Cluster orientation—free Hanseatic City of Hamburg cluster policy—is like DNA of the region, which may, in turn, make the region more resilient to external shocks.

As such, the metropolitan region of Hamburg is plugged into the global network of mainly civil aerospace manufacturing, via the anchor company, Airbus, which has, in fact, been organising and co-ordinating since the 1970s, the whole European Aerospace Industry, by connecting firms and regions in the global network of production relations (Buxbaum-Conradi, 2018). Airbus was meant to be a European counter-balance to the strong US aerospace industry around Boeing. Still, as countries involved in this project, favoured their own domestic companies' participation, a fragmented industry structure with a high number of ‘supplying’ SMEs emerged (Turkina, Van Assche & Kali, 2016; Buxbaum-Conradi, 2018). Although, not a complete success, the Airbus production network, indeed, incarnates the European economic integration. In fact, due to the peculiarities of this project, development, management and manufacmring of the different aircraft programmes are conducted in Germany, France, Great Britain and Spain. Core competencies of the German sites are in the domains of cabin, fuselage and tail units. Compared to Toulouse (Airbus HQ), the economic structure in Hamburg is dominated by very small and SMEs in business- related sendee industries (mainly engineering sendee providers).

Summing up, business, academia, associations and local authorities form the HAv cluster, which aims at advancing the region as an excellent aviation centre. They jointly pursue a goal of developing and networking the R&D areas and offering high-quality products and sendees for the aviation of the future. This makes the metropolitan region, the third-biggest site in the civil aviation industry worldwide.

 
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