Berlin’s ILA air show takes off

Berlin’s ILA aerospace trade show taxied into position on Tuesday, with a record number of exhibitors and visitors expected to head to the city’s Schönefeld airport this week.

Berlin’s ILA air show takes off
Indian air force helicopters at the ILA. Photo: DPA

More than 1,100 exhibitors from 37 countries will present their planes both on the ground and in the air during the five-day trade fair and air show. Industry types had the run of the 250,000 square metre event on Tuesday, but the public will only be allowed to gawk at jets, jumbos and choppers starting on Friday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel praised the domestic industry while officially opening the ILA on Tuesday: “German aerospace is a classic growth sector and it enjoys a brilliant reputation internationally.”

Visitors can check out more than 300 civilian and military aircraft – including the world’s largest passenger plane the Airbus A380 and massive cargo planes such as the Antonov An 124 and a C-5 Galaxy from Lockheed Martin.

“The ILA is the most important industry gathering of the year on the European continent,” said Thomas Enders, head of ILA organizer the German Aerospace Association, in a statement.

The ILA this year will also have a special display honouring the 60th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift. Each day an antique DC-3 – used to break the Soviet blockade of West Berlin – will take to the sky and US and British veterans will be on hand to offer firsthand accounts of the aerial logistical achievement.