Despite the recent news that Hahn airport’s largest cargo customer is moving operations to Munich as of 1. April, the airport management and the Rhineland-Palatinate government still see a future for the airport.
The local government situated in Mainz is still pushing ahead with plans to sell the airport to an interested investor.
The European tender process which will hopefully lead up to a sale will be opened towards the end of March and according to Roger Lewentz, Rhineland-Palatinate’s Minister of Transport, one sees good chances to find the right investor despite the heavy setback caused by the departure of Yangtze River Express.
The ideal candidate would be an investor who has knowledge of airport infrastructure and one who would bring a long-term concept and investment plans with him.
The issue at Hahn has for some time been a political battle
The opposition party, the Christian Democrats, are blaming the ruling Social Democrats and Green Party for the present misery at the airport.
It would surely benefit all concerned if the political parties were to bury the hatchet and pull together on one string to ensure Hahn can stay on top.
The departure of Yangtze River Express as the airport’s largest cargo client will hurt badly.
The Chinese carrier was operating almost daily with Boeing 747 freighters in and out of Hahn.
Their flights account for around 38% of Hahn’s total annual cargo flow, namely 130,000 tonnes.
This loss and the previous withdrawal of the Air China Cargo freighters for internal technical reasons will be hard to make up.
MUC transition is based on commercial decisions
Both carriers confirm that their decisions to leave Hahn had nothing to do with the service aspect at the airport.
Yangtze River Express explicitly stated that they have always been happy with all service aspects at the airport and that the decision to move to Munich and Brussels is purely commercial due to the fact that the majority of cargo they fly now originates in the south German and north Italian areas.
It is well known that Yangtze carries much cargo on behalf of DHL, who in turn have also widened their presence at Brussels airport.
A recent report in online portal airliners.de states that Hahn will show an even greater loss for 2014 compared to the year before.
There is talk of a minus of €40 million which includes an operative loss of €16 million. Much of the total loss is said to come from book losses on old buildings and land owned by the airport.
This is not confirmed by Hahn and official figures will only be disclosed after the Supervisory Board meeting to be held in June.
There is much work to be done by the Hahn sales team to try and plug the gap left by Yangtze’s departure.
John Mc Donagh
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