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Press article fom  12.12.2003

Well on the way to being the leading low-cost airport

Frankfurt-Hahn Airport, 12.12.2003. Managing Directors Jörg Schumacher and Andreas Helfer presented the objectives and strategies of Flughafen Frankfurt-Hahn GmbH for 2004 at today's press conference. With the forecast for the coming year, Frankfurt-Hahn Airport is well on the way to becoming the leading low-cost airport in Germany.

The success of Flughafen Frankfurt-Hahn GmbH's low-cost concept is reflected in the continued growth in passenger numbers. "Frankfurt-Hahn started with 7,000 passengers per year. Today, there are about 8,000 per day - thanks to our low-cost airlines Ryanair and Volareweb", says Jörg Schumacher, Managing Director of Flughafen Frankfurt-Hahn GmbH. "From the disadvantage as a former military airport of starting with nothing, we have created a phenomenon which is on everyone's lips throughout the world", says Schumacher proudly.

More than 2.2 million passengers have already made use of particularly the low-cost connections from Hahn this year; in comparison, there were about 1.3 million in 2002 (an increase of 71 percent). Over 2.4 million travellers are expected by the end of the year. "And next year, we expect 3.6 million passengers", says Andreas Helfer, Managing Director of Flughafen Frankfurt-Hahn GmbH, optimistically. Frankfurt-Hahn is currently in tenth place amongst the 37 German passenger airports. The next objective is to push Nuremberg Airport out of the number nine slot. "We are well on the way to establishing ourselves as the leading low-cost airport in Germany and are consciously implementing this objective in all areas and will continue to do so. We offer unbeatably low prices for all our customers and new custom-ers", continues Helfer.

The cargo sector provides Frankfurt-Hahn Airport's second means of support and is in fourth place worldwide. Almost 160,000 tonnes, including road feeder service, were transhipped in this year alone. This corresponds to an increase of 14 percent compared with the previous year. Around 35,000 tonnes of pure air cargo were transhipped. "This is a growth of 56 percent in comparison with the previous year - who else has achieved that", says Jörg Schumacher. A transhipment of about 180,000 tonnes is forecast for the coming year.

"With regard to the hotly discussed ban on night flights in Frankfurt and other airports such as Cologne/Bonn, we are taking advantage of our existing 24-hour operating licence and will market this even more strongly in the coming year", comments Schumacher on the further plans. Customised and customer-orientated packages for airlines, predominantly in the cargo sector, which would then have to reorientate themselves, are in preparation. The assessment process for the planned extension of the runway from the current 3,045 metres to 3,800 metres is virtually complete. This extension is necessary to enable cargo airlines to undertake fully laden and fully fuelled flights and to provide a further upsurge to the economy of the region.

Tourism, with a focus on incoming business, will also play a leading role in the planning for 2004. "We would like to provide greater support to the communities in the region when it comes to marketing tourism", explains Schumacher. An integral part of this is a planned co-operation with the tourist offices and airports of the destination regions in the Marketing and Press area. "The airport creates synergies and to use these as a driving force for tourism is a great opportunity for giving a further boost to the region", says Schumacher confidently.

The motivational force and the creativity of the individual communities in working together to get things moving is fascinating. For example, with this energy, the Hunsrück region already has between 80,000 and 100,000 visitors per year in the communities of Morbach and Thalfang. In order to provide a stronger bond with the region for first-time visitors, the airport would also offer support by way of supplementary programmes with daily flights to a number of European destinations. "The region is our daily bread and butter and that's exactly the way we like it", concludes Schumacher.

The airport operator, Fraport AG, has been the majority shareholder in the airport company since January 1998. Today, Fraport AG holds 73.07 percent of the shares in Flughafen Frankfurt-Hahn GmbH and the State of Rhineland Palatinate 26.93 percent.

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