Leipzig/Halle Airport is planning to further develop its apron capacity and infrastructure to meet rising air freight demand and the needs of DHL as part of a €210 million investment.
Freight volumes at Germany’s second-largest air cargo hub have increased significantly since 2007 and continue to grow strongly, and the airport said it is looking to gradually develop space that is available to keep up with different requirements.
Plans are afoot to construct an empty container terminal, develop specially secure parking spaces for trucks and add a maintenance hangar for small aircraft. The airport is also developing its infrastructure for handling air freight to meet growth in volumes.
Tonnage growth at Leipzig/Halle is mainly due to the global rise in e-commerce trade and annual increases in volumes handled at the DHL hub.
A big part of plans is developing infrastructure in the DHL hub area which will see apron four expanded, the building of additional taxiways and enlarging buildings. Leipzig/Halle is to submit the associated documents to the Saxon State Directorate at the beginning of 2019.
The hub is the biggest globally of DHL Express and volumes have risen from 150,000 tonnes in 2010 to today’s figure of 350,000 tonnes.
This long-term development means parking space for aircraft needs to be expanded and to meet future needs of DHL which will grow its fleet and also soon operate the larger Airbus A330 Freighter from Leipzig/Halle.
Expansion will also include more room space for aircraft to park in the DHL hub area as stand space capacity at the airport’s three other apron areas is full at peak periods due to traffic development.
Plans include extending the stand space capacity for aircraft and adding two taxiway links from the apron area to the southern runway and constructing two taxiways in the north-east and south-east areas for the southern runway; plans for the latter have already gained official approval.
Overall, the planned space for taxiways and apron expansion covers 67 hectares. The additional taxiways at the north-eastern end of the southern runway will help provide better links to the northern runway.
The apron four area was put into service in 2007 and offers space for as many as 60 aircraft, but the planned expansion project would add up to 36 additional parking spaces, depending on the aircraft type. Most of the space for expanding the apron area is located within the airport site.
The €210 million investment at Leipzig/Halle is to be funded via revenues from traffic operations and income from the long-term renting of the apron areas.
Leipzig/Halle Airport managing director, Johannes Jähn (pictured left) said: “The long-term commitment by DHL at Leipzig/Halle Airport was the crucial factor in ensuring that the airport would become an air freight and logistics site of European significance and a growth engine for the Central German region.”
He adds: “The fact that we can now deliberately tap into existing reserve space is a significant advantage at our airport site and this forms the basis for growth that meets demand.
“As with previous expansion projects, we’ve not only kept our eye on the development of the airport as an air traffic and logistics site in our planning work, but also the extensive protection of people and the natural environment.”
Leipzig/Halle handled about 1.14 million tonnes of air freight in 2017 and is the fifth biggest cargo hub in Europe in terms of volumes only behind Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Paris CDG and London Heathrow.