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Elbe Flugzeugwerke GmbH (literally: Elbe aircraft works, commonly abbreviated as EFW) is a subsidiary of Airbus (45%) and ST Aerospace (55%[1]) in Dresden. It is located at Dresden Airport and concentrates on freighter and tanker aircraft conversion. It also supplies Airbus with fibre composite sheets for aircraft interiors.

Elbe Flugzeugwerke
Founded1955 (1990)
HeadquartersDresden, Germany
Key people
Andreas Sperl
ProductsAircraft conversion
Revenue225,2 Mio €
Number of employees
ParentAirbus and ST Aerospace


EFW was founded in 1955 when Ilyushin Il-14 aircraft were built under license in Dresden. At the same time, EFW started development and testing of the Baade B-152, the GDR's own passenger jet. Up to 8000 personnel were employed and the program involved some 25,000 further jobs in supplying industries, which were bundled in a combined Volkseigener Betrieb in 1958.[2]

The second prototype of the B-152 crashed on 30 April 1958 and development of the aircraft was delayed. When the GDR stopped its entire aircraft program in 1961, the VEB Flugzeugwerft Dresden became a maintenance facility for MiG combat planes and Mil Helicopters of Warsaw Pact air forces. It also maintained the Interflug Airbus A310 fleet which was delivered in 1989.[2]

After the reunification of Germany, VEB Flugzeugwerft Dresden was supported by Deutsche Airbus, Hamburg. Elbe Flugzeugwerke GmbH was founded at 27 April 1990 by DASA and Airbus. When DASA, Aérospatiale-Matra and Construcciones Aeronáuticas merged, EADS became EFW's only owner.[2]

Elbe Flugzeugwerke GmbH has been a supplier of fiber-reinforced furnishing components used in Airbus planes since 1993. It has a capacity of up to 200,000 sandwich components per year.[3]

The company started converting passenger aircraft into freighters in 1996. It converts Airbus A300 and Airbus A310 planes which takes about four months and includes higher Aircraft maintenance checks.[4] It also converts Airbus A310 MRTT and Airbus A330 MRTT[5] and was designated to deliver the first four prototype Northrop Grumman KC-45 planes (without military tanker equipment).[6]

EFW was co-proprietor of Airbus Freighter Conversion GmbH which was also based in Dresden. The joint venture with then EADS sister company Airbus, Russian government-owned United Aircraft Corporation and Irkut was established in 2007 to build up a second converting production line in Lukhovitsy, Russia. EFW had the largest stake of 32%, Airbus had 18% while the Russian shareholder both owned a fourth.[7] The programme was stopped for financial reasons in 2011, without having converted any aircraft.

Demand for A300-600 freighter conversions has fallen. EFW now plans to convert A330-200 and A330-300 to freighters. The Supplemental Type Certificate for the aircraft will be supplied by ST Aerospace. ST Aerospace bought 35% of EFW in February 2013. It is planned to convert 10-15 aircraft annually. Currently, a portion of EFW's activities is devoted to structural improvements to Emirates' A380 aircraft.

In February 2016, ST Aerospace completed the purchase of another 20%, making it a 55% owner and rendering EFW an ST Aero subsidiary.[1]


  1. ^ a b "ST Aero Buys Dresden MRO". Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  2. ^ a b c EADS EFW: Aeronautics activities in Dresden: Know-how gained through decades
  3. ^ EADS EFW: The Centre of Excellence for the Manufacture of fibre-reinforced components
  4. ^ EADS EFW: The Airbus Freighter Conversion Experts
  5. ^ EADS EFW: Special programmes (MRT/T)
  6. ^ Sächsische Zeitung: Dresden profitiert von EADS-Milliardenauftrag (German)
  7. ^ EADS: Airbus Freighter Conversion Starts Operational Business

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