Hello readers, long time no see. 🙂 It is great to be an aviation student. Last week, we made a field trip to a very interesting airport: Frankfurt-Hahn. Be prepared for a little portrait of EDFH “Frankfurt-Hahn? This Container with a runway is interesting? Meh!”, one might think, and to be honest, I thought exactly the same before our university’s field trip. But this is wrong. Frankfurt-Hahn has both some very interesting history and current stories to offer.
But first things first. The airport was built in 1951 by the french occupying forces, in 1951 the US Air Force took over “Hahn Air Base”. Being the second biggest American Air Base in Europe, many flights were coordinated from Hahn, especially during the first Gulf War.
Going Civil: The Post War Time
In 1993, the airport was turned over to civil German authorities. This was a big economical impact for the region, since 14,000 soldiers and their families based at Hahn Air Base suddenly left the region, leading to a disastrous situation for many stores and other facilities such as many houses surrounding the airport which are empty still today (see the picture below).
That is why the government of Rhineland-Palatinate decided to turn the former military Air Base into a civil airport, with the thought in mind to relive the actual Frankfurt International Airport.
But why the heck is EDFH called Frankfurt – Hahn ? It is not even near Frankfurt ?
This is, indeed, true. But that name is not another genius creation of Michael O’Leary, the CEO of Ryanair, which is the main carrier in Hahn, but introduced by Fraport which primarily runs Frankfurt Airport and held the majority of Hahn’s shares until 2009.
Hahn Today – The Low Cost Era
The Idea behind the name was to position EDFH as an alternative to EDDF for low cost carriers and cargo flights since slots are rare in Frankfurt and EDFH is open 24/7 without any night curfews. Frankfurt-Hahn has very competitive airport fees, which makes the airport very attractive for low-cost carriers such as Ryanair (which has a major base at Hahn), and Wizzair. In 2013, EDFH handled roughly 2.6 million passengers (#5 in Germany) and 152,503 tons of cargo (more than Munich!).
Most of the cargo is shipped via full freighters, EDFH is even able to handle three aircraft of the size of a 747-8 at the same time. Cargo Carriers flying to Hahn are for example Nippon Cargo Airlines, Silk Way Airlines, Yangtze River Airlines and Air Bridge Cargo (yeah, those with these huge Antonov 124 guys!).
EDFH has a long runway (03/21) capable of handling all kind of long haul aircraft. Both directions are equipped with an ILS System, CAT IIIb for the 21 direction and CATI for 03. On the landside of the airport one can find a passenger terminal, a general aviation terminal (GAT) and four freight terminals.
I hoped you liked this short portrait about this little but interesting airport. Do you have any experiences with EDFH, or even other low-cost airports ? Comment ! Cheers, AP