To celebrate its 100th birthday, 500 guests attended a reception in the Grand Hall of the city’s Town Hall on January 10. Attendees included the Governing Mayor of the Free & Hanseatic City of Hamburg, Christoph Ahlhaus, the Federal Minister for Transport, Building and Urban Development, Dr Peter Ramsauer, and the Premier of the State of Schleswig-Holstein, Peter Harry Carstensen. In his address, the airport’s CEO, Michael Eggenschwiler, took the guests on a journey through time, exploring the history of the airport as well as looking ahead to the years to come. Joja Wendt accompanied the reception on the piano.
After the welcoming addresses by Christoph Ahlhaus, Dr Peter Ramsauer and Mr Eggenschwiler discussed possible future developments within aviation. Joining the conversation were Lars Hinrichs, founder of the internet networking site Xing, Joachim Hunold, CEO of air berlin and Dr Jürgen Weber, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Lufthansa. Jürgen Weber announced a 20% increase in seating capacity for Lufthansa flights from Hamburg. Mr Hunold said he was looking forward to the competition. The participants all agreed that the aviation industry will continue to grow in the future and that a better regulatory and political framework is needed.
Mr Eggenschwiler declared: “It is indeed a very special occasion today, the celebration of the airport’s 100th birthday. And right on time for this jubilee, Hamburg Airport is more modern than ever before. The airport’s success story demonstrates that courageous political and commercial decisions pay off. The founders were inspired by a vision to develop aviation in Hamburg. We are privileged and proud to carry this vision forward, having created a new airport centred on passenger comfort.”
In his address, the Mayor, Mr Ahlhaus, emphasised the great significance of the airport for the city. “Hamburg is northern Europe’s transportation hub, the interface between surface, water and air transport, and it needs an international airport. Our economy depends on fast connections with business partners and customers all over the world. And our many visitors from all over the world, visitors not just to Hamburg but to the whole of northern Germany, expect to be able to land in the heart of the region – in Hamburg. The airport is thus the guarantor for many, many jobs in the fields of tourism, trade, culture and catering.”
Dr Ramsauer, the Federal Minister for Transport, Building and Urban Development, was full of praise. “Hamburg Airport is 100 years old,” he said. “My warmest congratulations to an airport that has grown from its founding on January 10, 2011, to become a modern international commercial airport. With almost 13 million passengers and around 160,000 take-offs and landings every year, Hamburg Airport is one of the region’s most important generators of employment and economic activity. On top of all this, the airport also plays a significant role in tourism and trade well beyond Germany’s borders.”
Record passenger figures for 2010
The airport received its best ‘present’ a few days ahead of its January birthday: the confirmation that its 99th year was a record-breaker. In 2010, 12.96 million passengers passed through it. This is around 730,000 passengers – or 6% – more than in 2009, making it the airport’s busiest year ever. This establishes Hamburg as the fifth largest airport in Germany, and the top airport for northern Germany. And the early signs for 2011 are positive, too, with the airport expecting 4% growth – approximately half a million more passengers this year.
Mr Eggenschwiler explained its success by saying: “Hamburg Airport’s inner-city location and its route network, tailored to the needs of the whole of northern Germany, are decisive factors. There are 115 destinations served by direct flights, and with just a single transfer that number rises to 800 destinations all over the world.” The growth in aviation is closely linked to the successful economic development of northern Germany. “We, the airport, strengthen the performance and productivity of the regional economy; and with more than 15,000 jobs in 250 companies at Hamburg Airport, we are an employment dynamo for northern Germany. And we want it to stay that way for the next 100 years.”