Hahn Airport Sale – Final Round?

HHN it going to be sold - or is it not?
That is still an open question as far as the planned sale of Hahn Airport is concerned. This despite rumours of the last months, which indicated that there were more than three serious bidders still in the running.

Ryanair is HHN’s largest customer  -  company courtesy
Ryanair is HHN’s largest customer - company courtesy

Is there more than one Chinese bidder in the race?
Reports some weeks back indicated that there were definitely three bidders, whereas one was definitely of Chinese origin.
Now it seems that all three contestants could come from China.
Where they are or from or which Chinese entities or regional governments may be involved, is not being revealed.
All that Hahn’s Board of Directors Chairman, Salvatore Barbaro will say is that there are interesting offers on hand.

However, in mid December, the German newspaper Allgemeine Zeitung, reported that one of the Chinese candidates apparently offered to take over the airport if the regional government paid them 60 million euros to take it off their hands.
Seeing as the tender conditions are said to state that the airport will be sold to the highest bidder, the above offer, if true, would assumingly go out of the window.
In the meantime it is rumoured that it was not just one bidder, but two, who offered to take it if paid.
Not impossible though, considering the financial state of the airport.
2016 is expected to bring a further deficit of €16 million along with 2015 losses and the record €45.2 million loss in 2014.

Both the State of Rhineland-Palatinate as 82.5% main shareholder and the State of Hesse which holds the remaining 17.5% are only too eager to rid themselves of the airport.

What will a new investor do with it?
It’s hard to imagine where a new investor, especially a Chinese one, will start to put his finger on what has to be done at Hahn to bring it back to some form of normality.
The airport has had some bad luck during the past 12 to 15 months due to a massive loss of their air freight volumes after what some see as the unnecessary departure of Air China Cargo and Yangtze River Express to other German airports.
Since then, the cargo volumes have stagnated and are giving the two main handlers at the airport substantial financial headaches.

The passenger figures for 2015 show improvement over the previous years.
The airport handled 2.7 million air travelers, which is an increase of nine percent over the 2014 figures.
The 2016 summer passenger schedule offers 50 destinations within Europe. The main carriers being Ryanair, Wizz Air and SunExpress.
There were even rumours that a Chinese tour agency plans to offer widebody passenger flights from China to Hahn

A light at the end of the tunnel?

John Mc Donagh

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