The development of Hahn Airport in recent years has been like a roller coaster ride hurtling through phases of great hope and then resignation regarding the regional airport’s future. Since its takeover by the local investor TRIWO AG on 01MAY23, however, there is once more a new, promising perspective for Hahn and its staff.
These figures would probably only be worth a footnote to large airports. But for the management of Hahn Airport, they are an important success story. The line reads: on average, 30 widebody freighters take off from HHN each week, serving intercontinental destinations. They are supplemented by 110 scheduled passenger airline flights. “Important cargo customers such as Magma Aviation or Silk Way West Airlines, but also smaller carriers and low-cost airlines such as Ryanair or Wizz Air, have remained loyal to us during the insolvency phase, which was a strong signal to the market,” explains Chief Operating Officer, Roger Scheifele. This customer loyalty was a much-welcomed message conveyed to insolvency administrator, Jan Markus Plathner, who spent several months seeking a well-funded buyer with an impeccable reputation. Among the many applicants, including a glittering Russian oligarch, he finally awarded the contract to the TRIWO AG. Like Hahn, the company is based in the neighboring southwest German region. It manages several other German regional airports with a focus on general aviation.
Extensive investment announced
TRIWO owner, Peter Adrian, who himself holds a private pilot's license, proclaimed a massive renovation and modernization program for the airport following his signing of the purchase agreement. Enhancing the ground infrastructure is an urgently needed move since not much was done in the recent past, stresses manager Scheifele. The renovation of the airport’s transport equipment is particularly urgent so as to ensure smooth turnarounds for airlines. Speeding up transfers between cargo facilities and aircraft is essential in fulfilling flight schedules and delivery deadlines, the manager holds.
“There are sufficient competitors just around the corner, including Germany and the Benelux countries. This said, we can only score with personalized services, product quality, and flexibility,” argues Mr. Scheifele.
New sales strategy
In addition to investing in equipment, ground infrastructure, and runway enhancements, he announces a marketing offensive. “We will start sales initiatives by talking to large and medium-sized forwarding agents, presenting ourselves as an airport that holds a 24/7/365 operating license, which is easy to reach thanks to the excellent trans-European road network, and located close to the industrial centers in the Rhine-Neckar region and the Ruhr area.” He adds to this that Hahn intends to up its presence at aviation trade shows to deepen existing customer contacts and establish new ones.
The main objective of the marketing initiatives is to attract new carriers serving routes between the Far East and Western or Central Europe. Hahn needs to grow its network to/from East Asia in addition to Silk Way West's cargo services via its Baku hub in Azerbaijan, stresses the manager. However, the limited traffic rights for airlines from non-EU countries that apply for landing rights at the German aviation authority Luftfahrt-Bundesamt (LBA), are an obstacle that is hard to overcome in cases where a carrier’s current traffic quota has already been exhausted.
In contrast, another hurdle can be cleared more quickly: hiring new employees. Due to the frequent changes in ownership, the insolvency, and the unclear prospects, it was extremely tough to find new job applicants. However, in the meantime, the airport is once again an interesting employer. This is evidenced by the incoming applications, Mr. Scheifele stresses. “We are an important employer for the region and offer interested parties a wide range of attractive jobs,” he holds.
Overall, he speaks of a new spirit of optimism among the workforce and management, following the end of the insolvency proceedings. Meanwhile, private investor TRIWO AG has taken over all of the airport's roughly 400 employees. Recently, TRIWO CEO, Peter Adrian, and Hahn Airport CEO, Rüdiger Franke, told local media that they are convinced of the positive development of Hahn Airport. “That's why we decided to invest in the airport infrastructure to achieve further growth in cargo and passenger traffic, and implement sustainable real estate development,” declared Mr. Adrian.
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