New Extension Projects at Leipzig/Halle Airport
Leipzig/Halle Airport is now Germany’s second-largest air freight hub and the number five in Europe. The volume of goods handled has increased more than ten-fold since 2007; the figure was 1.38 million tonnes in 2020 and this will probably continue to grow.
The number of people employed at the airport has also more than doubled during the same period. More than 10,000 people now work at the site at about one hundred different firms. Many well-known companies in the logistics, automotive, e-commerce and electronics sectors have established business operations near the airport. The DHL hub is the main driver of growth at Leipzig/Halle. However, freight operations, apart from DHL, are developing positively too: more than sixty cargo airlines now make use of Leipzig/Halle. There are clear signs that the growth trend will continue in future too.
An investment programme worth EUR 500 million
Given the constant increase in demand, the Supervisory Board at Leipzig/Halle Airport made another strategic decision for the future regarding the extension of the airport in May 2019.
By approving an investment programme amounting to EUR 500 million, the shareholders cleared the way for investments in new apron areas, logistics and office buildings at the northern and southern parts and in the central area at Leipzig/Halle Airport.
The investments are being funded by the airport company.
An overview of the building projects (correct in November 2019):
The northern runway is to be refurbished
Leipzig/Halle Airport has temporarily taken its northern runway out of service. The concrete surface will be intricately overhauled until September and the classic runway lighting will be placed by modern LED technology: this is an investment in the modernisation and operational performance of the infrastructure.
The northern runway has in operation at Leipzig/Halle Airport since March 2000. Since that time, about 400,000 planes have taken off or landed on the runway, which is 3,600 metres long. They include the Antonov AN 225 and Airbus A380 aircraft, the largest cargo and passenger planes in the world.
The airport will continue to operate while this work is taking place. Air traffic will be handled by the airport’s second runway, the southern runway. The latter, which runs parallel to the northern runway, went into service in July 2007.
Following 21 years of intensive use, the concrete surface on the northern runway has suffered substantial damage from the so-called alkali-silica reaction, as is commonplace on motorways. This is commonly referred to as “concrete cancer”. This damage poses a risk that porous concrete could break off and damage aircraft engines.
The lights on the taxiways and the runway will be dismounted at the beginning of the repair work. GPS-controlled milling machines will then remove the damaged concrete layer. After this, the fresh concrete will be laid on both the runway and the taxiways. The new LED lights will be installed during the final stage. This will involve more than 2,200 different navigational lights, connected by 350 kilometres of cables.
The approx. 300,000 tonnes of concrete required to repair the runway and the taxiways will be produced at two mixing facilities within the building site area.
The complete work will take place according to a strict timetable and is due to be completed on 30 September. The airport is investing about EUR 90 million in the refurbishment work.
Building site traffic
The construction vehicles will be directly routed from the Schkeuditz/Airport junction on the A 14 motorway to the building site via Towerstrasse. They will not drive through villages next to the airport
Northern runway: figures, data, facts
|Planning and building work|
(planning approval decision on
|1994 - 1999|
|Start of operations||24 March 2000|
Total air traffic surfaces
Civil engineering data
|Old concrete removed during the building phase|
Total concrete inserted
|approx. 300,000 tonnes|
approx. 300,000 tonnes
Runway lights including the taxiways
DHL has been operating a European air freight hub at Leipzig/Halle Airport since 2008. The airport is also the home base for the airline called AeroLogic, a joint venture between DHL Express and Lufthansa Cargo. DHL has already invested EUR 655 million at the airport and employs about 6,400 people. This means that the DHL hub in Leipzig is the largest of the three international air freight hubs within the DHL Express global network.
The apron area needs to be extended to ensure that DHL is able to meet the growth in express freight handling in future too.
Flughafen Leipzig/Halle GmbH, the project developer, prepared an application to modify the plans for this purpose. The Airport and DHL already provided information about the project as early as October 2018.
The documents for the planning modification procedure are have been submitted to the Saxon state regional headquarters in August 2020. The communities and members of the general public affected by this development are being informed about the project in the run-up to it.
Scope of the project
The planning work covers the increase in the number of parking stands for aircraft as well as two taxiway connections to the extended apron area. The construction of two taxiways in the north-eastern and south-western parts of the southern runway also form part of this; planning permission for them is already available.
The additional taxiways at the north-eastern end of the southern runway will help provide improved connections from the new apron areas to the northern runway.
Flughafen Leipzig/Halle GmbH, the applicant and landowner, bears responsibility for the planned investments for the extension project. The investments are expected to total approx. EUR 300 million.
The investments will be funded by the revenues from traffic and the rents from the long-term lease of apron areas by DHL Hub Leipzig GmbH.
The northern part of Leipzig/Halle Airport will be extended to become the Cargo City North during the next few years. There is already a hangar here. Next to the building is an apron area with direct links to the runway system. Several building projects will be introduced in the northern part of the airport during the next few years to meet the growing need for parking stands for aircraft and workshop, office and warehouse space.
- Extending the existing apron area (apron 3) from seven parking spaces for aircraft at the moment to 19
The planning permission decision covering the northern runway provides the legal basis for this. It also included stipulations to provide compensation and replacement measures and noise protection, all of which have already been completed.
- Constructing an Airport Logistics Center North (ALC North) with direct access to the apron area
- Constructing workshop, warehouse and technical buildings
The US aerospace company, Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), and 328 Support Services GmbH (328SSG) are planning to set up a new aircraft manufacturing facility at Leipzig/Halle Airport. The subsidiary known as DRA GmbH intends to locate the final production of the regional D328NEU aircraft at the Central German airport.
You can find more information here (German only).
- Constructing an office building measuring approx. 7,500 m² landside
- Constructing and office and functional building measuring approx. 7,250 m² airside
There is also a cargo hangar – the first regional air freight centre operated by Amazon Air in Europe – measuring 20,000 square metres in the southern part of the airport next to the World Cargo Center. The cargo hangar has been in use since the beginning of November 2020.
- Constructing an office/GAT building
- Building a hangar for small aircraft
Development stages until 2013
Development work has been continuing at Leipzig/Halle Airport since 1990. The shareholders and airport managers at the Central German airport already set the course for the modernisation and expansion of Leipzig/Halle Airport at the beginning of the 1990s. This was the prerequisite for far-sighted expansion planning and its gradual materialisation has enabled the airport to become one of the most modern commercial airports in Europe.
The new millennium has seen further developments and modernisation too. For example, the northern runway (2000), the southern runway (2007) and the central terminal with its multi-storey car park and integrated railway station (2003) have all been put into service.
The foundation stone for Terminal B was laid on 16 May 1994 and it was already possible to celebrate the topping-out ceremony one year later. The new terminal, which was the first passenger building at the airport to be equipped with several passenger jetways, started operating on 3 March 1996.
Once the terminal had been put into operation, this completed an interim stage in the process of expanding Leipzig/Halle Airport to enable it to become a contemporary European airport. Leipzig/Halle Airport had a passenger terminal that matched the current international standards for the first time.
In order to meet air traffic requirements, the new northern runway, which is 3,600 metres long, went into service in March 2000. The runway, which was planned and built in a record time of just five years, makes it possible for aircraft to reach any destination in the world non-stop from Leipzig/Halle. The new northern runway is not subject to any restrictions and can be used 24 hours a day.
Time line for the project
|Start of planning work||26 June 1994|
|Start of planning permission procedure||1 November 1995|
|Building permit issued||10 July 1997|
|Foundation stone laid||7 May 1998|
|Start of pouring concrete||26 April 1999|
|Start of operations||24 March 2000|
Details of the runway
|Location||08L / 26R|
|Length of the runway||3.600 m|
|Width of the runway||45 m, with the outer areas 60 m|
|Operating hours||24 hours|
Poor weather operations
|Category IIIb (in both directions)|
Another stage in the extensive development programme at Leipzig/Halle Airport, which significantly changed the appearance of the airport during the years 1999 and 2000, started when the building permit was issued for the new central terminal building on 25 February 1998. It was already possible to put the new six-storey car park into service as the first module of the new central terminal on 16 July 1999.
The multi-functional central terminal, which brings together the long-distance railway station, which is able to handle ICE express trains, the central check-in area with its integrated baggage checking facilities, the car park and a wide range of service and retail facilities, was opened at a special ceremony on 30 June 2003. The central terminal is able to handle 4.5 million passengers per annum. Thanks to its modular structure and its central location between the two runways, the central terminal could be expanded to increase the annual capacity to seven million passengers by extending the existing facility in line with needs.
Another major extension phase at Leipzig/Halle Airport began on 31 August 2005 with the symbolic ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the new southern runway, including apron areas. The southern runway, which will be 3,600 metres long, has been aligned parallel to the northern runway of the same length as part of the new construction work, so that all types of aircraft (without any restrictions in terms of their range or payload) can fly to Leipzig/Halle Airport.
There is an apron area measuring 53 hectares for cargo planes next to the southern runway, which was completed on 5 July 2007. This has been used by the express subsidiary of Deutsche Post World Net, DHL, as handling space for about 60 aircraft per day since 2008. The Cargo Area South, which offers further development opportunities for logistics companies and airlines, is also directly connected to the runway.
Time line for the project
|Start of planning work||March 2003|
|Planning permission process||November 2003 – November 2004|
|Planning permission decision||4 November 2004|
|Ground breaking ceremony||31 August 2005|
|Start of pouring concrete||September 2005|
|Start of operations||5 July 2007|
Details of the runway
|Lenght of the runway||3.600 m|
|Width of the runway||60 m, with the outer areas 75 m|
|Operating hours||24 hours|
|Poor weather operations||Category IIIb (in both directions)|
A noise protection hangar for jet engine tests had been constructed at Leipzig/Halle Airport by 2008. It was built in the western part of the airport, near the fuel depot. It is 76 metres long, 90 metres wide and 22 metres high, so that it is possible to even conduct tests on an Antonov 124-100, the world’s largest series-produced cargo aircraft, in the hangar round the clock.
This is possible because of the sound-absorbing effect of the testing hangar; additional sound absorbers have been attached to its doors, directly behind the aircraft engines. Fins, which are located on the building’s front, ensure that the air flow from the engines remains straight, as required, regardless of the prevailing wind direction.
Leipzig/Halle Airport has invested about EUR 14 million in the construction of the noise protection hangar.
Leipzig/Halle Airport has developed into an important European cargo handling point during the last few years and goods from all over the world are imported here. In order to meet the growing volume of animal and plant products, a veterinary border inspection point has been built in line with the directives that apply within the EU.
The newly built veterinary border inspection point was officially handed over to the District Administrative Office in Delitzsch, which is now using it, on 7 December 2007. The investments involved in constructing the building amounted to approx. EUR 4.8 million.
A maintenance hangar was handed over to its user in January 2013, following a building period that lasted about one year. The building is used as a maintenance base by Volga-Dnepr Technics GmbH, which is a subsidiary of the Volga-Dnepr Group and operates at the airport. The hangar is 94 metres wide and 90 metres deep. The hangar structure is also about 30 metres high. The hangar has two independently operated crane tracks and they guarantee a maximum working height of approx. 25 metres. The building also has workshop, social and office accommodation. 15 companies were involved in constructing the building complex, 12 of them from Saxony. As many as 150 people worked on the building site every day at peak times. The building work for the hangar involved investments of approx. EUR 17.7 million.