Hahn Airport - “Back to Square One”

The sale of Hahn Airport has turned more or less into a children’s version of the Monopoly game whereby all parties having (thought) reached the end of the game are now all back onto “square one.”
It’s more than an embarrassing situation for the local Rhineland-Palatinate government - it’s a downright disgrace how things have apparently been handled and how the future of so many employees at and around the air-port has been again jeopardized.

Dr. Steffen Wagner, Head of Transport & Leisure at consulting firm KPMG
Dr. Steffen Wagner, Head of Transport & Leisure at consulting firm KPMG

How come nobody sees a reaction from KPMG?
Bad enough that the new owner turns out to be a “post box company” in Shanghai without any Chinese government authorization or backing to enter into negotiations in Germany.
Even worse - the rumours that KPMG as consultants to the local government had never visited the Shanghai Yiqian Trading Company (SYT) before and during the negotiations.
There are photos of Dr. Steffen Wagner, a KPMG partner in Shanghai on 22. April and the question arises whether the KPMG team went to the SYT premises or not. If they did, then how come that it needs a team from the German media station, SWR, to find out it was a hoax?
It’s hard to believe that such a renowned company which has assumedly received a large renumeration, which some are saying amounts to around half a million euros, “for its work,” did not realize this was going to turn into a fiasco.

Is that really the case?
Again - hard to believe, but considering the negative press of the past few weeks on this “faux-pas,” why then is there no official explanation from KPMG as to how they researched, presented their findings to the politicians and why things went wrong?
Maybe they can claim that their confidentiality clause does not allow them to comment. If so, then this is more than ironic considering the damage which has been done to Hahn airport, its employees and customers.

One could assume that KPMG will reimburse the Rhineland-Palatinate government body by paying back the fee they billed - or?
Some members of the local government are now insisting on an official investigation into KPMG’s role in the deal.

What’s the future going to bring for Hahn?
Not much, it seems.
The next bombshell hit towards the end of last week when Air France Cargo announced that they will cease all operations at Hahn as of the 30th of September.
AF Cargo is a long-term customer at the airport having setup a cargo distribution centre there many years ago. Hahn was used by Air France as a cargo consolidation hub whereby aircraft pallets and ULD’s were built up and trucked to Paris for direct loading onto their freighters.
A cost saving exercise which paid off over the years, but which now has become more or less obsolete due to Air France doing away with most of its freighter aircraft.
The AF move is surely not directly due to the events of the past weeks, but one which will harm the airport and VG Cargo, the local AF handling company, even more.

Will he rescue HHN? Siegfried Englert heads bidder ADC GmbH
Will he rescue HHN? Siegfried Englert heads bidder ADC GmbH

Still serious bidders on hand?
It would seem so!
There were one or two serious candidates in the running to take the airport where it was rumored they were boxed out because they were not willing to pay the double-digit euro million sum which SYT had promised to cough up.
It’s no secret that these other bidders, which included a consortium made up through Germany-based ADC GmbH would have been willing to invest in Hahn’s future but not pay an exorbitant amount on top.
CargoForwarder Global has first-hand information that ADC has signaled its continued interest in acquiring Hahn and that there are discussions on hand as to whether the Hainan Airlines Group would seriously consider operations there if the HNA Group were to have part or full ownership.
ADC has confirmed that they would be aiming for a long-standing development of Hahn and an increase in flight operations. This is only possible with another strong airline partner on both the cargo and passenger side.
News was released at the end of last week that ADC has purchased some of the old military buildings on the Hahn campus for an amount of 3.75 million euros. Whether this amount is correct, remains to be seen.
It is said that the Shanghai SYT had also wanted to buy these buildings along with the airport.
Hahn airport spokeswoman, Hanna Koch, is quoted as saying that ADC plans to renovate some and tear other buildings to create offices and apartments.
But - who would move in there if Hahn continues its downward slide?

The number of cargo carriers serving Hahn has declined significantly lately  -  picture: HHN
The number of cargo carriers serving Hahn has declined significantly lately - picture: HHN

One can only hope that the Rhineland-Palatinate bosses now finally wake up and give the airport into serious hands to try and ensure that it can survive and that further customers will not jump ship as both airlines and employees become more nervous.
The politicians have to stop their internal bickering as to who is at fault and concentrate “together” unmaking sure the airport gets into reliable hands at last.
Then, they can attack each other.
No time anymore for experiments!

It’s party time!
Hahn’s management recently sent out their annual invitation for their Octoberfest Party at the end of September.
The theme chosen for the Octoberfest was “It’s Party Time.”
It’s always been a good event, well attended by customers and staff, but how many of the employees will have to vacate their desks beforehand and is it really time to party?

The question remains as to whose party it will or won’t be!

John Mc Donagh

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