Saturday, December 13, 2014

Update on the Kassel-Calden Airport

I've talked on several occasions about the Kassel-Calden Airport....a two-hour's drive north of Frankfurt.  It was renovated and completed in early 2013....at a cost of 271 million Euro.  It is, by my own observation (I spent forty minutes walking around the interior and exterior) one of the finest small airports in Europe, without any real commercial use or passenger traffic.

HR, my local state-run network, did a news piece on the airport today....laying out the future problems and negativity seen by the current state government (CDU/Greens).

Current travel out of the airport?  Presently, Germania (a low budget airline) is running one regular flights out of the airport....to Antalya, Turkey.  On a season basis.....they run a couple of flights per week to Palma de Mallorca and Fuerteventura.  There's talk that they will start up a Hurghada flight once or twice a week by March, and a couple of flights per week to Heraklion.  With summer in full session and best statistics working.....you might see eight flights a day (arriving or leaving).

Even with these hopeful bits of travel....the state government is still having push some funding into the airports operation....to keep it open.  The hint from HR's write-up this week is that the patience of the CDU/Green government is going to absolute maximum in 2017.  If the airport can't build upon it's structure and get some type of business improvement....the whole operation will be sold off.  But the question might be.....if they can't get a profit going now....what idiot would walk in and buy this newly renovated airport with it's 8,200 foot runway?

It's hard to say what the regional authorities were doing back in the 1990s when talk came up about modernizing this old airport/runway area.  It was previously a 5,000 foot runway and used mostly by private individuals to keep their airplanes for use.

The local town of Kassel?  It's a population of roughly 200,000 residents, with some growing aspects of industry.  Maybe the city saw some dynamic of growth....if they had a real airport nearby and could attract more international operations into the region.

Connected to the Frankfurt Airport?  Situated two hours north of the Flughafen in Frankfurt.....it'd be far better for FRAPORT to buy into the Hahn airport (almost up for sale now), with a distance of roughly 90 minutes away and has a 10,000 runway.  Add in the fact that Hahn has no night-time landing rules, and it simply makes better sense.

What happens to Kassel-Calden Airport?  I'm taking a guess that they will scrap together some other small discount airline operations and somehow find a way to get past 2017, but eventually admit by 2020 that it's just not ever going to survive with the business plan that they have.  Maybe some Chinese airline company will come in and buy the airport....making it a major cargo port to China.

Bottom line?  If you ever passing through Kassel....I'd recommend to you a trip out to the airport is worth making.....just to see an enormous waste of money/tax revenue.  You'd just walk away shaking your head over this one.

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