2013 was a year of turbulence for Hamburg Airport. Amid an already arduous economic climate, industrial strikes, severe storms and the infrastructure developments of some of its primary airlines all presented obstacles to passenger numbers, while the negative impact of the German Aviation Tax presented hurdles too. “Despite this challenging environment, though, we can indeed be satisfied with our result,” said the airport’s CEO Michael Eggenschwiler. Germany’s fifth busiest airport recorded 13.5 million passengers last year, and finished the financial year with a profit of €37.3 million.
With an encouraging start to 2014 behind it, the airport is now rightfully optimistic that it will this year achieve its ambition to welcome 14 million passengers to Hamburg. In the first five months of the year it has achieved an increase of +8% compared to the previous, and expects this favourable result to continue, as more and more passengers choose the airport for its attractive mix of holiday and business destinations, combined with short walking distances and ongoing good service. “This is our recipe for success,” Eggenschwiler said. 2014, it seems, will be Hamburg Airport’s year.
“In 2014, our passengers can choose from a broad route network with 120 destinations. We are focusing on the new routes and on even more comfort for our passengers,” established Eggenschwiler. “The new, more convenient P1 multi-storey car park, for example, with around 2,800 parking spaces, will open in July in time for the summer holidays.” In the terminal complex, meanwhile, the airport has just expanded its lounge to serve around 300 guests at any one time.
“We are always looking for ways to make our passengers’ time at the airport even easier and smoother. At present, we have a six-month test of a self-service baggage drop off system for passengers operating in Terminal 1. The really special feature here is that these kiosks will in the future be used for baggage for all airlines,” he continued. “What matters most to me is that we listen to our customers. Every customer suggestion is looked at in detail. Older passengers, for example, have particular expectations of an airport. The walking distances can’t be too long and the writing on the signs has to be a bit bigger. We are working hard to make sure these needs are met.”
Discovering Hamburg’s potential
In line with the pioneering developments taking place in the terminal environment and beyond, Hamburg Airport’s route network is flourishing, driven by the increased services of many of its airlines. germanwings is presently completing its takeover of Lufthansa’s non-hub European services, adding its own new routes – it now operates more than 50 different services from Hamburg in the current summer timetable.
easyJet meanwhile has made a huge step, opening its second German base at Hamburg Airport in March. At the start of 2014, easyJet’s route network from Hamburg consisted of six destinations; by the end of the year, it will have grown to 21. In addition, Norwegian has significantly expanded its services between Hamburg and Spain, and SAS is further expanding its presence in the market for flights to Scandinavia. The airport’s timetable also now includes flights to Athens, Marrakech, and Tel Aviv, and an increased long-haul network.
The airport’s low-cost offering has grown considerably too, with quality low-cost carriers having discovered the potential of the northern German market, and offering new opportunities for its passengers. Flights to 100 of the roughly 120 non-stop destinations in its timetable are now available for less than €100. In 2005 there were just 50 of them, and four years later 80. Today, passengers have a broad range of service and price models to choose from. “They can put their journey together just how they want it, guided by their own service expectations and budget,” Eggenschwiler stressed. “Experience shows that it is precisely the low-cost carriers that bring a lot of additional traffic, boosting the incoming market in particular. This is good for the city of Hamburg as a whole.”