Following news this summer of a further 2.2 billion Euros funding being made available for Berlin Brandenburg Airport’s new terminal’s construction, Germany’s airports are largely optimistic for the future. Here's the view of Jörgen Kearsley, general manager aviation marketing, Hamburg Airport.
Q) Where are your key opportunities for route development?
A) Having been filling in the blank spots in Europe we are full steam ahead on long-haul to China and North America. With the opening of the new opera house Elbphilharmonie, we expect increased attention, particularly from north America, south-east Asia, China and Japan. The cruise business in and around Hamburg is also booming with a US ship expected next year. To cater for this, we will have two new facilities for wide body aircraft ready by next spring.
Q) How much is your airport focusing on Asia?
A) As the largest non-capital city in the EU which offers a great lifestyle, Hamburg has a fantastic mix of corporate and leisure market opportunities while more Asian travelers are discovering northern Germany. So our focus is primarily on mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan. Besides leisure demand we see the strongest potential in direct business travel with China due to shared history and 500 Chinese companies being based in Hamburg.
Q) What do you think are the key issues facing the German aviation market?
A) Germany is trying to find the right mix of budget and premium airlines in each market. Driving this process are mainly three airlines: Ryanair is currently expanding at four German airports including Hamburg; Eurowings has nearly completed its roll over from Bombardier CRJ900s to Airbus A320s; and airberlin is retreating into Berlin and Düsseldorf. This leads to overcapacity on some routes and pressure on yields. airberlin’s future strategy and possible sale of its non-hub business to Lufthansa is being intensely discussed. Secondly, we need progress regarding bilateral traffic right negotiations between Germany and China as we at Hamburg are ready to go.
Q) If Brexit ever happens, what impact do you expect it to have on European aviation?
A) Changing the bilaterals would lead to serious framework changes, affecting innovative and competitive carriers like Ryanair, easyJet, Norwegian and British Airways. From a consumer point of view on both sides it is beneficial to keep the current situation. I am quite confident that bilateral negotiations will end sensibly. However, UK demand could be impacted due to a long-term economic impact and work visa issues.
This article is modified from an original feature that appeared in...
ROUTES NEWS - ISSUE 6, 2016
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