- The New Hamburg Airport is complete
On 18 February, the traditional groundbreaking ceremony takes place for the “Radisson Hotel Hamburg Airport”, a 51 million euro construction project. A comfortable, 4,260 square metre hotel is being built within walking distance of the terminals, with a footbridge to connect it directly with the new Airport Plaza. When it opens in autumn 2009, the hotel will offer more than 260 guest rooms, multifunctional conference rooms with state-of-the-art equipment (WLAN, video conferencing), a restaurant, a cocktail bar and a fitness area complete with spa.
19 March sees another groundbreaking ceremony take place at Hamburg Airport, when work commences on a field test platform for the ground traffic control system of the future. The new system bears the name “Advanced Surface Movement Guidance and Control System (A-SMGCS)”. The aim of the innovative ground traffic control system is to provide marshalls with more precision and certainty when identifying and locating aircraft and vehicles on the ground. This will optimise procedures on the ground and also make them even safer. The project is a collaboration between the Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR, “German Aerospace Center”), Deutsche Flugsicherung (DFS, “German Air Traffic Services”) and Flughafen Hamburg GmbH. Before A-SMGCS can go live for testing in summer 2009, 16 kilometres of cabling, 23 antennas and a second ground radar have to be installed.
In the summer of 2008, the modernisation of the fire brigade fleet begins with the delivery of the first Z8. By summer 2009, the thorough modernisation of Hamburg Airport’s fleet of fire trucks will be complete. The current “Rosenbauer Panther” fire trucks are being successively replaced with new “Ziegler Z8” appliances. These vehicles are amongst the most up-to-date fire trucks in Europe. They are equipped with an innovative, 20-metre long, articulated extinguishing arm, which is itself fitted with a thermal imaging camera. The Z8 is capable of spraying its extinguishing agent up to 90 metres, and up to 12 tonnes of foam can be sprayed within two minutes. The purchase of the four Ziegler Z8s will represent an investment by Hamburg Airport of over 5 million euros in the safety of its passengers.
On 2 September, the Hamburg Aviation Cluster is officially named as one of the five winners of the “Best Clusters” competition instigated by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. With their “New aviation from Hamburg” project, the members of the cluster – Hamburg Airport, Airbus, Lufthansa Technik, various suppliers to the aviation industry, research and university partners – were able to successfully compete against 38 other clusters. The prize money of 40 million euros will be used to develop innovative solutions to make air travel in the future more economical, more environmentally friendly, more comfortable and more reliable.
On 4 December, at 4am, the announcement is made: “Airport Plaza Ready for Operation”. The Airport Plaza, the new heart of Hamburg Airport, opens its doors for regular flight operations. The Plaza is not just a shopping and restaurant complex for passengers, it is also home to 16 security lanes for passenger security checks. Every passenger has to pass through one of the lanes to reach his or her departure gate. The Airport Plaza completes the master plan for the New Hamburg Airport and closes the gap between Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. To celebrate this event, an official opening ceremony was held a week earlier, on 26 November, with around 600 invited guests, followed by open days on 29 and 30 November, with around 40,000 north Germans taking the unique opportunity to experience the new Airport Plaza without having to buy a ticket.
On 12 December, about a week after the Airport Plaza entered service, another premiere takes place at the airport: the S-Bahn (metro rail network) service on the S1 line begins operating to the airport, bringing passengers and visitors from Hamburg’s Hauptbahnhof (central station) direct to the airport in just 25 minutes, operating every 10 minutes. This makes Hamburg Airport more than ever the airport for northern Germany. The rail connection makes it possible for passengers from northern Germany to travel by train all the way from their home town to the airport as they set off on holiday or a business trip.
2008 is also a good year for people living in the immediate vicinity of the airport, as nighttime aircraft movements at Hamburg Airport are significantly reduced. There is a decrease of around 30 per cent between 11:00pm and midnight, whilst the decrease between midnight and 6:00am is as high as 48 per cent. A major reason for this is the cessation of night postal flights as of 31 March, 2008.
Although the economic situation in 2008 is tense, making for a rather weak year for the aviation industry as a whole, Hamburg Airport manages to maintain the high passenger figures achieved the previous year and even to grow slightly. This result is thanks, among other things, to the strong commitment of the airline partners and their belief in Hamburg as a location. A total of 12,838,205 passengers pass through Hamburg Airport in 2008, representing a growth of 0.5 per cent.