Leipzig-Halle leapfrogs into the big time

One thing is for sure. If you are an individual, winning the lottery is probably the best thing that can happen to you. But if you’re an airport, winning over a customer like DHL from an established competitor like Brussels, has got to be the absolute equivalent. And that is precisely what the hitherto virtually unknown eastern German airport of Leipzig-Halle did last year. Donald Urquhart reports from Leipzig-Halle.

Aerologic Leipzig-Halle Airport Mitteldeutsche Airport Holding state-of-the-art facility

But the airport’s success is clearly more than simply lottery luck. And it’s no new-comer either, having recently celebrated its 80th anniversary, means it has seen its share of turmoil and war – both hot and cold. And, in part this historical patina left Leipzig-Halle Airport blessed in many ways.

Congestion-free, the airport boasts two 3.6 km runways that literally beckon traffic seven-days-a-week, 24-hours a day, offering vastly untapped landing and take-off slots. State-of-the-art facilities provide dedicated and seemingly endless cargo capacity, passenger terminal facilities and on-airport cargo and passenger rail connections.

Add to this highly supportive local and regional governments and an upand- coming industrial base, and you’ve got a winner.

Even the airport’s ownership is unusual with the main shareholders split between two states – Saxony and Saxony- Anhalt – and three cities – Leipzig, Halle and Delitzsch. The airport’s holding company – Mitteldeutsche Airport Holding – also has control over the nearby Dresden airport which focuses primarily on passenger traffic. Since the holding company was formed in2000, nearly 1.5 billion euro was spent upgrading Leipzig-Halle and another500 million euro for improvements atDresden.”

While the airport had a keen ambition to become a key passenger airport alongside Leipzig’s bid for the 2012 Olympic Games (which ultimately went to the city of London), it emerged from the process newly modernised and even hungrier for business. Winning the affection of DHL and then Lufthansa Cargo only to be followed by the pair’s offspring, Aerologic, changed the equation substantially.