Leipzig/Halle Airport to Become a US American Manufacturer’s New Site

December 2019

(From left to right:) Peter Altmaier, Federal Minister of Economics and Energy, Andreas Scheuer, Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, Angela Merkel, Chancellor, Even Ozmen, Dornier, Saxony’s Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer, standing before the regional aircraft D328NEU during the 1st National Aviation Conference at Leipzig Airport \ Halle, Aug 21, 2019. © Pawel Sosnowski

In August 2019, the US American aerospace specialist Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) and the 328 Support Services GmbH corporation (328SSG) announced their plans to establish a new aircraft production site at Leipzig/Halle Airport.  The subsidiary DRA GmbH wants to set up the final assembly of the D328NEU regional jet at the Central German airport.  That is why the respective declaration of intent was signed at the National Aviation Conference in Leipzig on August 21, 2019.  It was agreed that about 80 million euros are to be invested into the infrastructure, production halls, machinery, and the installation of the appropriate final assembly line in Leipzig/Halle starting in 2020.  The long-term perspective is to create up to 250 new jobs directly on site.

Dave Jackson, Managing Director of DRA GmbH, notes:  “Signing the declaration of intent was the first important step towards future-oriented, sustainable production in Germany.  The improved D328NEU, an aircraft with the DNA and the reliability of the Dornier 328, will provide the ideal platform for safeguarding and ensuring an economically viable production in Germany for many years to come while also taking the latest technologies into account.  We are optimistic of the future and are very thankful for all the support we’ve received so far at a national and state level because it will allow us to implement such a pioneering project in Germany.  Our investment will also safeguard jobs at service providers and suppliers in the region, and there’ll be ample room for further new business setups.”

(From left to right:) Jon Burgoyne, Executive Vice President Sierra Nevada Corporation Inc., Aerospace Coordinator Thomas Jarzombek, Dave Jackson, Managing Director of DRA GmbH, Nico Neumann, Production Manager D328NEU, Martin Dulig, Saxony’s State Minister for Economic Affairs, Labor and Transport and Vice Prime Minister of the Free State of Saxony in front of the D328NEU regional aircraft. © SMWA/Bonss

The project was assisted and supported by the Saxony Economic Development Corporation (WFS) over a period of several years.  As Thomas Horn, Managing Director of the WFS, points out:  “This is an outstanding business setup which makes us very proud after having paved the way for several years.  For the first time ever since the end of aircraft construction in the former GDR, such a production site is emerging again in eastern Germany.  That’s a clear sign of great trust for the business venue Saxony, and it continues the long tradition of aircraft construction in Saxony which reaches far back into the past.  With this decision, the industrial location Leipzig with its superb infrastructure receives once again international acclaim and recognition.”

Thomas Jarzombek, the Federal Government Coordinator of German Aerospace Policy at the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, confirmed in Leipzig that the Federal Government had also campaigned for the project and will continue to actively assist and support it.

Since German Reunification, the Free State of Saxony has invested approximately 1.5 billion euros into the expansion of Leipzig/Halle Airport and, thus, created ideal prerequisites for additional business setups.  Martin Dulig, Saxony’s State Minister for Economic Affairs, observes:  “The business venue Leipzig/Halle provides ideal conditions:  A property in the vicinity of the airport, an innovative climate for business founders, and a high quality of life.  Investors can benefit from considerable expertise in the aerospace sector and will find a superb research environment here.”

Development of the D328NEU:

Numerous planes will be decommissioned in the market segment for regional aircraft with 30 and more seats due to old age over the next few years.  It is for this market that the 328 Support Services GmbH corporation wants to develop the new regional aircraft D328NEU at its corporate headquarters in the Bavarian city of Oberpfaffenhofen (County of Starnberg).  The prototypes will be produced there and the requisite flight tests will be conducted there as well.  This will create 120 new jobs in the engineering and technology segment.  The global support center for the D328 fleet will continue to be in Oberpfaffenhofen.

This is the basis on which the new subsidiary DRA GmbH will assume the final assembly of the new D328NEU at Leipzig/Halle Airport.  The aircraft is to be used for passenger and cargo transport as well as within the scope of search, rescue, and border services.

The project is expected to be implemented between mid-2020 and early 2023 (scheduled production launch).


In Saxony’s aviation and space branch, 160 companies and research institutions with approx. 7,000 employees generate an annual turnover of about 1.4 billion euros.  The supplier landscape, which is primarily characterized by small and medium sized enterprises, acts as a partner for the aircraft manufacturers and participates in international projects.  Their core competencies range from equipping and retrofitting aircraft and manufacturing components to testing airplane and space structures all the way to implementing research and development projects both in aviation and aircraft maintenance.

Saxony’s research and development community consists of 28 institutes focusing on the topics lightweight construction, material development, sensor technology, electronics, fluid mechanics, and simulation.

Detailed information provided by the Saxony Economic Development Corporation on the Saxon aerospace industry can be found at: https://business-saxony.com/en/industry-sectors/further-sectors/aerospace-technology