Leipzig/Halle – at the heart of it all

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As a member of the Mayor of Leipzig’s delegation, it gives me great pleasure meeting you in my capacity as CEO of the Central German Airport Holding. The city is an important shareholder of my company. Thank you both, Mr Burkhard Jung and Mr Uwe Albrecht, for your strong support.

Our holding company is responsible for managing the airports of Leipzig/Halle as well as of Dresden. It is the first-mentioned airport that I am hoping to arouse your interest in today …by taking a closer look at it.

Gentlemen: When buying a home …or deciding on a place fromwhich to operate and seek new business opportunities …it always pays to remember the three most important things …

… Location, …location, …location.

Looking from Japan to Europe, you might ask – where is the ideal location for the logistics industry? How do I go about finding it?

Europe is a fairly big continent …and it is far away.

How do I judge?

Which of the many countries and airports in Europe fulfil my criteria …that are so vital to my enterprise?

…Criteria such as:

  • Proximity to major markets,
  • superior road and rail networks and air routes – preferably all interconnected –
  • Excellent and cheap telecommunication services and IT infrastructure?
  • And what about a skilled and highly motivated labour force, tailor-made warehouses …or, at least, affordable land to put your offices and facilities on?

Above all – as logistics entrepreneurs you must obviously seek to be in a central position …and have all the countries of Europe right at your fingertips.

So, there are a dazzling number of questions to be answered. Most European airports are saturated. What are the pros and cons of going places?

Well, Ladies and Gentlemen …when looking for a place in the world, I suppose many of you would do what I do: …I google.

I have an icon on my computer screen called Google Earth.

Let’s say you enter Leipzig/Halle in the search box and press Enter: …What will you see?

Our blue planet will rotate; …the camera will hover over Europe and zoom into position.

Halfway down, I suggest you freeze the picture for a second. You will see all of Europe with all its current boundaries now.

And guess what place will be right in the middle? …

…Guess where all the imaginary lines from St. Petersburg to Madrid, from Copenhagen to Rome, from Hamburg to Athens, from London to Kiev and from Paris to Warsaw intersect?

…Well, your guess is right! It is Leipzig/Halle airport – give or take a few miles! It is the location that meets all the criteria I listed.

Indeed, following the demise of the communist block Central Germany has become the (thee) heartland of Europe – and not only of the European Union. Most of the major regions of Europe are less than two hours away by air.

Every city and town in Germany – with 80 million people the biggest and most lucrative consumer market in the EU – is only a few hours away by truck.

And soon, we will connect Leipzig/Halle Airport with Frankfurt Airport by a special high speed Cargo rail service – the first of its kind in Germany …and a unique and innovative concept.

We also sit right at the intersection of two major European motorways from East to West and North to South.

Leipzig/Halle has, indeed, equipped itself to become one of Europe’s leading hubs for express freight services and the logistics sector.

DHL will be opening its European main hub there just a few days from now….and has formally established a new cargo airline together with Lufthansa Cargo. It is called AeroLogic and due to launch operations in 2009. Its main focus will be on Asia.

AeroLogic will be based at Leipzig/Halle. …And as Europe’s fourth largest carrier of air freight …it will belong to the top flight of the world’s major cargo airlines right from the beginning.

A very big area of our airport has been under construction to house the future World Cargo Centre, which will be capable of handling well over a hundred thousand tons of freight each year.

Indeed, I find it difficult to understate the many advantages of Leipzig/Halle: …We are able to offer flight operations around the clock …and we have two major state-of-the-art runways available for intercontinental traffic, both of which are equipped for all-weather operations at any time of the year.

And there are plenty of slots, ….which are so scarce anywhere else in Europe. So, …we have plenty of scope for development in every sense of the word.

Since the reunification of Germany …Central German Airport Holding has invested 1.9 billion Euros to upgrade the facilities of its two airports. The lion’s share, 1.5 billion, went to Leipzig/Halle where the rate of traffic growth is at its highest.

I am not boasting when I say …that with almost 200 per cent growth of cargo tonnage last year and 16 per cent growth of passenger numbers ….Leipzig/Halle is the fastest growing airport in Germany. It has great potential.

Well, to top it all, Ladies and Gentlemen: …Not only do we provide first class handling facilities. We also offer a high level of quality of life for those of you …who come and take up residence in Leipzig or the city of Halle. The area is surely one of Europe’s richest in terms of cultural life.

The Handel festival of Halle, the Bach festival in Leipzig, the city’s Thomaner choir, the Gewandhaus orchestra and hosts of other institutions – they all make Central Germany a civilised place to live in.

So …location, location, location are indeed the three most important things to consider. And it’s good to know: Leipzig/Halle is at the heart of it all. It is worth a visit – not only by Google Earth in your armchair.

Already 27 Japanese companies or joint ventures have got the message already. They’ve settled in Saxony, within easy reach of our two airports. Their activities are reflected in positive growth figures of both import and export streams of goods. We are confident – there will be more companies to follow.

I hope …that I have reduced the dazzling number of questions I mentioned at the beginning. If not – we will be delighted to answer your queries unreservedly. That is why we are here.

I am very grateful to my friends at Lufthansa who’ve arranged and invited us to this occasion – Martin Schlingensiepen, Lufthansa Cargo’s Vice President Asia and Pacific, and Bruno Bobinger, his Manager Japan and Korea, who is our host in residence today.

Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you very much for coming and for your kind understanding that we had to shift the original date of our meeting. I hope that you forgive us and enjoy this lunch with us. I wish you a very interesting meeting.