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Airbus establishes an OpenCargoLab with leading airfreight industry partners

Airbus has launched the OpenCargoLab, a collaborative initiative with leading partners from the airline, logistics and handling sectors, focusing on the entire airfreight ecosystem. The collaboration involves a team of experts from CHAMP Cargosystems, Fraport, KLM Cargo, Kuehne+Nagel and Swissport. Together, the partners will work to drive digital, resource-saving concepts, contributing to more resilient and efficient airfreight processes.

Announced at the IATA World Cargo Symposium in Hong Kong, the OpenCargoLab supports Airbus’ forecast, which expects the global freight market to grow by 50% by 2042. Specifically for Asia-Pacific, the region’s continued rapid economic growth means this market remains highly promising for modern airfreight business with digital-savvy hubs. Airbus anticipates demand for around 400 widebody freighters, including new builds and conversions, in Asia-Pacific over the next 20 years. This represents more than 25% of global demand for 1,490 cargo aircraft in the above 40 tonne segment.

As part of the OpenCargoLab initiative, Airbus will also evaluate digital solutions such as augmented reality and robotics in order to optimise data connectivity in general and, for example, the transport of dangerous goods in particular.

"With the OpenCargoLab, we benefit from a holistic think tank for the dynamically growing cargo market and thus an agile environment for developing innovations connecting the airfreight market of today and tomorrow,” says Marvin Ehrmann, Head of Airbus’ OpenCargoLab. “We are very excited to have established a thought leadership platform where experienced partners can drive the airfreight sector to become even more efficient, sustainable and connected.”

In addition, the OpenCargoLab will contribute to the A350F’s further design and application development. Just two-and-a-half years after launch, the order book for this all-new, next-generation freighter stands at 50 firm orders from nine customers as Airbus steadily expands its market share in this highly competitive segment.

In order to test the findings developed at the OpenCargoLab, an innovative test field for validating these new technology concepts is currently established at Airbus’ Cargo competence site in Bremen, Germany, e.g. known for the development of the cargo loading systems or the cargo door actuation systems.  Among others, a replica of the A350F fuselage with the large cargo door included will be installed at the sites’ new Cargo Test Center by the end of 2024.

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