"Our growth vision, Expanding CPH, is to prepare ourselves to handle almost twice as many passengers as we do today when it becomes necessary: between 24 million and 40 million passengers per year. And it is not only that a bigger airport will be better for the region: it's actually a necessity if we want to ensure that Copenhagen Airport will continue to be the strongest hub in northern Europe, also in the future," said Copenhagen Airport CEO Thomas Woldbye when he presented the expansion plans today, Thursday.
Unlike many of its competitors on the European continent, Copenhagen Airport is not planning to build a new, separate terminal. On the contrary, the plan is to increase the capacity of the existing terminal complex in a phased process.
"In my opinion, building new, separate terminals is not an optimal solution. A phased expansion offers several advantages. Eighteen months of analysis work has shown us that, with this approach, we can avoid building excess capacity Secondly, it allows us to keep the airport's compact layout 'under one roof', which is important. Thirdly, a phased expansion allows us to adjust our process to match the increase in traffic and lets us make use of the latest technology," said Woldbye.
One of the first steps will be the development of more capacity for intercontinental routes.
"Our analyses show that the level of about 40 million passengers per year, provides the basis for about 40 intercontinental routes out of Copenhagen, which is 16 more than today. Over the past five to six years, we have improved our international competitive position substantially with nine new intercontinental routes, so the first part of the expansion will focus on providing more capacity for the big aircraft used for these services. We will begin expanding Pier C as early as 2014. This pier is used for non-Schengen and intercontinental traffic," Woldbye explained.
Forty million passengers will also mean more jobs. Copenhagen Airport is already the workplace of 23,000 people. According to international surveys, the additional 16 million passengers will generate an additional 16,000 jobs at the airport, bringing the total number of jobs in the airport area to more than 40,000. There will be more work to do for a number of support functions as well, corresponding to about 8,000 jobs outside the airport area. This means a total of 24,000 new jobs.
"These figures don't take into account the indirect job effects of incoming tourists when they stay at hotels, eat at restaurants, use public transport, use entertainment facilities and shop in both Denmark and southern Sweden. An then there's the impact on productivity and the competitiveness of the export community, along with a number of additional effects that will also benefit the economy of the region. All in all, these factors add up to a fantastic opportunity for us to create a much stronger and more attractive region," said Woldbye.
Collaboration is necessary
In continuation of its presentation of expansion plans, CPH hosted a panel debate with representatives from the region and from municipalities, businesses and organisations on both sides of the Øresund strait. The purpose was to bring the growth agenda up for discussion, and one thing is certain: Copenhagen Airport's expansion plans will only be realised if the region can attract even more international business investment and tourists in future.
"We have presented a vision for the expansion of Copenhagen Airport, and we can and must build the capacity required to handle 40 million passengers a year. But our plan can only be realised if all the relevant parties in the region collaborate. We saw it in Barcelona: since hosting the Olympic Games in 1992, the city has turned into a tourist destination at the top of the European league, and we are currently seeing how the whole region around Istanbul is booming because the airport and airlines are collaborating with the entire region to generate economic growth. If everyone pulls together, we can also lay the foundation for 40 million travellers in this region over the next two to three decades," said Thomas Woldbye.