The History of Leipzig/Halle Airport
Leipzig/Halle Airport has existed for more than 90 years. It started operating after an astoundingly short period of construction on 25 April 1927 and already had a reputation for being extremely modern at that time. The airport’s development during the last nine decades has been closely connected to the eventful nature of German history. Here is a summary of the most important historical events and periods of time at Leipzig/Halle Airport.
After the cities of Halle and Leipzig had already witnessed the first Zeppelin and aircraft traffic at their own airfields (e.g. Mockau) in the early 20th century, the newly constructed Leipzig/Halle Airport started operating in Schkeuditz.
The newly built airport restaurant opened and attracted about 60,000 visitors as a tourist attraction during its first year.
Leipzig/Halle Airport recorded the fourth-highest volume of traffic among German airports. Six foreign airlines flew to it regularly and more than 40 aircraft took off from Schkeuditz every day.
The newly constructed terminal and administration building was opened.
The airport halted civil aviation operations for the time being when the Second World War broke out.
Bombs dropped by the Allied forces destroyed large parts of the airport building, including the restaurant, on 16 April.
The Volkseigene Betrieb (VEB) Maschinen- und Apparatebau Schkeuditz (Schkeuditz mechanical and apparatus engineering state combine) was formed after the war and it later became part of the aviation industry in East Germany.
The government had a runway that was 2,500 metres long built at Schkeuditz to promote the development of the aviation industry. Shortly after it went into service, East Germany halted aircraft production completely.
Capacity at the adjacent Mockau trade fair airport reached its limits. From then on, pilots flew to the airport in Schkeuditz twice a year, when the trade fair was held; it was then known as “Messeflughafen Leipzig” (Leipzig Trade Fair Airport).
A new terminal building built north of the runway created a unique feature: it was used for airline passengers when the trade fairs were held and for car drivers as a service area during the rest of the year.
The temporary airport gradually gave way to a permanent one. “Leipzig Airport” started handling civil air traffic again all-year round for the first time since the outbreak of the Second World War on 19 May.
A supersonic Concorde airliner operated by Air France landed at Leipzig for the first time on 18 March. The number of passengers passing through the airport had now risen to approx. 550,000 per annum.
Even before the Berlin Wall fell in November, an airliner operated by (West German) Lufthansa landed in Leipzig. Scheduled services to Frankfurt/Main were launched.
The Reprivatisation Agency for former East Germany established Flughafen Leipzig GmbH; Wolfgang Hesse was appointed as its first Managing Director.
The newly established Supervisory Board decided to change the name of the company to Flughafen Leipzig/Halle GmbH on 24 May and put the modernised Terminal A into service.
The newly built airport Terminal B started operating.
The new central terminal with an integrated railway station opened on 30 June. The annual capacity at Leipzig/Halle Airport rose to approx. 4.5 million passengers.
Leipzig/Halle grew – more and more visibly: the airport opened the newly constructed southern runway on 5 July; it was 3,600 metres long.
A special hangar was built for jet engine test operations to protect airport neighbours from aircraft noise; it can accommodate the largest aircraft in the world.
A new maintenance hangar was completed after building work lasting one year.