Aeronautics Research at DLR

Aeronautics research within the scope of German and European aviation strategies

The aviation sector is facing major challenges: Growth and environmental responsibility will both shape the future development. In the coming years, global air traffic will increase by an average of five per cent per year. The leading manufacturers of passenger aircraft expect the global fleet to double within the next 20 years. In view of this massive growth, air transport will be assessed even more than before by its impact on the environment. To ensure the future viability of the air transport system, it will be essential to significantly reduce the negative effects both on a local and on a global scale. In Europe, this issue is of particular importance because of a high population density, capacity bottlenecks faced by all modes of transport and a high degree of environmental awareness shown by the general public.

With the European Commission’s "Flightpath 2050 - Europe’s Vision for Aviation" and the decision to pursue the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA), Europe has given an ambitious answer to these challenges: Carbon dioxide emissions are set to be reduced by 75 per cent and noise levels by 65 per cent - both between the beginning and the middle of the 21st century. Enhancements in the performance of European air traffic are also assumed. The aim is to carry 90 per cent of all air travellers from door to door in less than four hours. A modernised air traffic management system will need to handle 25 million flights within Europe per year, according to calculations by the authors of the European Advisory Council for Aviation Research (ACARE).

To achieve the goals of Flightpath 2050, great efforts in research are required as well as fundamental changes over the current state of technology. European research programmes, such as Clean Sky 2 and SESAR2020, are paving the way for tomorrow’s eco-efficient air transport. The Aviation Strategy of the Federal German Government addresses these ambitions and aims at strengthening the international competitiveness of the German aviation sector through research and development. DLR with its expertise and skills is a major research institution in German aeronautics research and one of the largest research organisations in Europe. Researchers at DLR are making a significant contribution to maintaining and expanding the outstanding position of European aeronautics research in the world.

Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)


DLR develops solutions for current and next generations of technology. With its research expertise in the overall air transport system, DLR is also striving to draft sound proposals for future generations and to open up new perspectives for aviation. Six guiding concepts describe the key challenges facing safe and sustainable air transport within the next 10 years from a product-oriented point of view. DLR’s range of ambitions includes the (virtual) integration of innovative final products, such as a novel type of a short-haul aircraft. The objective is to pursue newly explored key technologies in joint cooperation with industry within the framework of national guiding concepts or international programmes.

Contacts Directorate Aeronautics

Dr.-Ing. Markus Fischer
German Aerospace Center (DLR)

Directorate Aeronautics

Linder Höhe

51147 Köln

Tel.: +49 2203 601-3698

Fax: +49 2203 601-2767