NIB Nordic Investment Bank

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CPH: Engineering a double-deck gateway to Northern Europe

On 1 December 2015, Copenhagen Airport welcomed its first Airbus A380, the world's largest aircraft. Photo: Copenhagen Airports
Pier C at the Copenhagen Airport. Photo: Copenhagen Airports
Photo: Copenhagen Airports

Every year, Copenhagen Airport, CPH, is investing one billion Danish kroner in airport expansion along with improvements and maintenance. This is what it takes to keep up in the tough competition for the shiny crown of the gateway to Northern Europe.

A world-class airport—this is what CHP is and wants to remain. As is well known, one needs to run like the wind to stay in one place, let alone if the plan is to increase the number of passengers from 25 million to 40 million a year. Copenhagen Airport is planning to achieve this over the coming decades.

“The ambitious target places great demands on us. We must expand, refine and improve our services for both airlines and passengers”, says Thomas Woldbye, CEO of Copenhagen Airports A/S.

Most recently, CHP invested in expanding and resurfacing a 3.3-kilometre runway and upgrading its intercontinental Pier C. The cost of the Pier C upgrade totalled DKK 255 million (EUR 35 million), half of which was co-financed with a NIB loan.

The expanded Pier C is key to Copenhagen being a world-class airport. “It’s not just new gates. It’s also the opportunity to welcome the world's largest passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380”, says Mr Woldbye.

Shortly after the pier was inaugurated in late autumn 2015, CHP’s first A380 was moored at a newly engineered double-deck jet bridge—clearly a milestone in the airport’s plans to grow its passenger volumes.

Engineering the airport’s future not only makes one run—or rather fly—like the wind. It makes one think big, think politics. Transport politics, investment climate, even employment politics. It requires a sound political environment, Mr Woldbye adds.

“We hope and believe that the Danish government's focus on strengthening growth in aviation can support our expansion and development for the benefit of our customers and growth in Denmark.”

The government is indeed currently hatching a national aviation strategy with the aim of expanding air traffic. Every new route makes Denmark more easily accessible and generates growth and jobs. Seven out of ten new passengers in 2015 were tourists and business travellers visiting Denmark.

“Our strong route network is essential for many Danish companies, investments and not least the tourism industry in Denmark”, says Mr Woldbye.

A study recently conducted by the market analysis company Oxford Research shows that expanding Copenhagen Airport as planned will stimulate business activity and investments and help create and maintain up to 85,000 jobs in different regions of the country.

Last year, the airport saw a 4% boost in passenger turnover, to 26.6 million. The growth lies solely with international, particularly long-haul, traffic. The number of long-haul routes at Copenhagen has doubled in the past ten years. Currently, the airport is servicing 34 long-haul destinations. The two latest destinations—Boston and Miami—have been added already in 2016.

There is more to come, Mr Woldbye is convinced. Better global market coverage is an important source of growth and a strategic goal for CPH. “It signifies real market expansion and contributes directly to the region’s economy", he adds.

“We are aiming for a substantial expansion of Copenhagen Airport in the coming years. Having access to reasonable sources of financing is critical to achieving this goal. Here, NIB's long-term financing fits well into our plans and portfolio”, Mr Woldbye concludes.

Thomas Woldbye

Thomas Woldbye

CEO of Copenhagen Airports A/S

Copenhagen Airports is the operator company of Copenhagen Airport, the largest airport in the Nordic–Baltic region and the 15th largest in Europe measured by passenger traffic.

Photo: Copenhagen Airports

 
 
Apr 2016
  • AR2015

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