Airbus establishes OpenCargoLab with airfreight companies

March 14, 2024
Airbus will also evaluate digital solutions such as augmented reality and robotics in order to optimize data connectivity in general and, for example, the transport of dangerous goods in particular.

HONG KONG - Airbus in Toulouse, France has launched the OpenCargoLab, a collaborative initiative with 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. Airbus says 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 was introduced to support Airbus' projection of a 50% growth in the global freight market by 2042. The Asia-Pacific region, marked by sustained economic growth, remains a strong market for modern airfreight business with digital-savvy hubs. Airbus foresees a demand for approximately 400 widebody freighters, including new builds and conversions, in Asia-Pacific over the next two decades, constituting over 25% of the global demand for 1,490 cargo aircraft in the above 40-tonne segment.

As part of the OpenCargoLab initiative, Airbus will evaluate digital solutions, such as augmented reality and robotics, to optimize data connectivity, including the transport of dangerous goods. Marvin Ehrmann, head of Airbus’ OpenCargoLab, expressed enthusiasm, stating, "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."

Related: Airbus tests its Beluga transporter for large military cargo

The OpenCargoLab will contribute to the ongoing design and application development of the A350F. Despite launching just two-and-a-half years ago, the order book for this next-generation freighter has reached 50 firm orders from nine customers as Airbus expands its market share in the competitive segment.

To validate the findings from the OpenCargoLab, an innovative test field is being established at Airbus’ Cargo competence site in Bremen, Germany. The site, known for developing cargo loading systems and cargo door actuation systems, will include a replica of the A350F fuselage with the large cargo door, to be installed at the new Cargo Test Center by the end of 2024.

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