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Press article fom  05.04.2004

The Hesse Region is new joint partner of Frankfurt-Hahn Airport GmbH in 2005

Frankfurt-Hahn Airport GmbH, 5th April 2004. Frankfurt-Hahn Airport is one of the most successful conversion projects in the Rhineland-Palatinate region. It is steadily increasing in importance in the international air transportation market, a fact reflected in the constant growth of its passenger and freight statistics: Frankfurt-Hahn is already in the German top ten of commercial airports for passenger transport and in freight transport at number 4. Yet another chapter of this success story is now being written: the Hesse Region has become the new joint partner of the Frankfurt-Hahn Airport GmbH (FFHG).

Today´s signing of the joint partners agreement by Jochen Riebel (Hesse Minister for State and European Affairs and Representative of the State of Hesse for the Federation), Harald Glahn (State Secretary for the Ministry of Economy, Transport, Agriculture and Wine Growing for Rhineland-Palatinate), Dr. Wilhelm Bender (CEO of Fraport AG) and Professor Manfred Schölch (Deputy CEO of Fraport AG) made the State of Hesse an active partner, with an investment of 20 million Euro from 2005. The capital stock of the FFHG is thereby increased from 30.5 million Euros to 50 million Euros. This will result in a future share ratio of 65% for Fraport AG and 17.5% each for the States of Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate. The States of Rhineland-Palatinate and Hesse together with Fraport have agreed on a capital injection of 42 million Euros into the Hahn Airport Company between 2005 and 2009. This will create a solid financial basis for important investments at the airport.

“With the acquisition of the joint company shares, Hesse is making a considerable contribution to the further necessary expansion of the airport system Frankfurt- Main/Frankfurt-Hahn for passenger and freight travel”, said Mr. Riebel. Close cooperation between both airports was a decisive prerequisite for the development of air transportation in the Rhine-Main area, he said. “In addition, this is an important step in guaranteeing the results of the mediation procedure and to realise the ban on night flights at Frankfurt-Main airport; because the ban on night flights is inseparably linked to the expansion of the Frankfurt airport: no expansion without the ban on night flights - no ban on night flights without expansion”, Mr. Riebel declared.

Harald Glahn described the signing of the joint partner agreement as a “quantum leap” for the development of the Frankfurt-Hahn airport. “The superlative and outstandingly successful cooperation with Fraport will now be placed on a different foundation, one which will lead to additional impetus for the airport”, Mr. Glahn explained. He went on to say that in the State of Hesse, a significant partner had been gained. It was absolutely unique for a German Federal State to participate cross-nationally in an infrastructural project of this magnitude. This showed that the State of Hesse also ascribed true potential for growth to Hahn Airport. He expected an excellent partnership between the two States.

The Chairman of Fraport AG, Dr. Wilhelm Bender, commented upon Hesse's decision to become involved in the Hunsrück region with the following statement: “This will speed up the tempo of development at Frankfurt-Hahn Airport and will help to further establish its position as the leading German Low-Cost Airport. We are delighted to have entered this interesting market segment at the right time. In addition, we are at the same time securing growth in the freight business, the second financial pillar of Frankfurt-Hahn Airport.”

His deputy, Prof. Manfred Schölch, who is also Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Frankfurt-Hahn Airport GmbH said, “This expansion in the Hunsrück region can only be advantageous: for the airport itself, for the Frankfurt-Main Airport via the targeted airport system and ultimately for the airline companies.”

The next important objective in the cooperation of both airports was, according to Mr. Glahn, the recognition of the airport system. A proposal to this effect was already with the German Federal Ministry of Transport. “I am confident that the Ministry of Transport will make a positive decision shortly and that the subsequent EU Commission on the airport system will go off smoothly”, said the State Secretary. Continuing, he said that the lengthening of the take-off and landing runway to 3,800 metres was an important short-term objective for the further development of the airport, since more cargo flights would then be able to operate to and from Hahn. As far as access from the Rhine-Main area was concerned, the four-lane expansion of the B50 road would prove to be of great significance. Project approval procedure for this was already underway. Mr Glahn said that in its entirety, today's joint partner agreement would serve to strengthen the employment market and the structural/political objectives which the State Government was pursuing with Frankfurt-Hahn Airport. “I am sure that in the next few years the number of jobs at the airport and in the surrounding regions will considerably increase”, said the State Secretary.

In recent years, Frankfurt-Hahn Airport has evolved into the employment motor for the region. “Today, there are approximately 2,300 persons employed at Hahn”, said Andreas Helfer, Managing Director of the Frankfurt-Hahn Airport GmbH. “During last year alone, we saw a 16% increase in jobs. We estimate that we'll have 2,500 employees by the end of this year. This trend can also be seen in the areas outlying the airport. From past experience, I believe there will be twice as many jobs created in the outlying areas as at the airport itself.” In the development of air traffic, Frankfurt-Hahn also showed high rates of increase. “With around 2.4 million passengers in 2003, we attained 10th place on the German commercial airports list and we transhipped around 160,000 tons of freight.” “In the first quarter of the year, we had 25% more passengers and 28% more freight than in the corresponding period last year, added Hahn's Managing Director Jörg Schumacher. “During the course of the year, we expect 3.6 million passengers and 180,000 tons of freight.” Both Managing Directors were delighted that Hesse had become a joint partner of the airport company. They agreed that it would considerably strengthen the capital base of the company and secure the planned expansion of the airport.

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