Flughafen Frankfurt-Hahn GmbH files for bankruptcy

Hahn (dpa) – After years of turbulence, the only larger airport in Rhineland-Palatinate has filed for bankruptcy despite recent growth in the freight business.

Flughafen Frankfurt-Hahn GmbH submitted the application to the Bad District Court Kreuznach, as Hahn plant manager Christoph Goetzmann announced to the dpa. According to the court, four other affiliated companies have also done this: JFH Jet Fuel Hahn GmbH, HNA Airport Services GmbH, HHN Airport Technology GmbH and HHN Aviation Security GmbH. The district court appointed the restructuring and insolvency expert Jan Markus Plathner from the Frankfurt office of the nationwide law firm Kanzlei Brinkmann & Partner as the provisional insolvency administrator in all cases.

Operations continue

In an initial statement, Plathner announced that he and his team would get an overview of the current situation on site and explore the possibilities for restructuring the company. The employees’ wages and salaries would initially be paid out at short notice via pre-financing for insolvency payments. The airport continues to operate “fully”, and air traffic is taking place as planned by the airlines. Passengers who have specific questions should contact their airline directly.

The Rhineland-Palatinate CDU General Secretary Jan Zimmer spoke of a “shock for the airport staff and the entire region”. Operations manager Goetzmann said that machines were still starting up in the Hunsrück for the time being. With a view to business operations, he added: “I am fighting to continue.” But now Plathner is at the helm. The Rhineland-Palatinate Ministry of the Interior pointed out that the opening of insolvency proceedings does not automatically mean the cessation of operations, “especially not if the corresponding business is available”. The provisional insolvency administrator will “first examine the situation of the insolvent companies and conduct the company’s business in accordance with the insolvency regulations”. The «Wirtschaftswoche» had previously reported on it.

Chinese owner

The former US military airport Frankfurt-Hahn, whose name of the Main metropolis is a marketing The trick is, belongs to 82, 5 percent of the large Chinese corporation HNA. He had acquired the shares 2017 for around 15 million euros from the state of Rhineland-Palatinate. Hessen holds the remaining 5 percent 17. Most recently, the arrest of the top management of the financially troubled HNA caused a stir. The Hunsrück airport emphasized at the time that this had no effect on the rooster. It was said at the beginning of October that he was on the right course. The Frankfurt aviation expert Yvonne Ziegler, on the other hand, said on Tuesday: “HNA may have given less support to Hahn Airport recently.” She also recalled the crisis surrounding the highly indebted Chinese real estate group Evergrande, which is burdening the entire financial and real estate market in the Middle Kingdom.

Hahn Airport recently posted growth in the freight business, with the former US benefiting from this -Military airport, among other things, from the boom in online trade and container bottlenecks in the maritime business. In the passenger business, on the other hand, Hahn had to accept declines again and again, even before the Corona travel restrictions 2020. The regional airport once had up to four million passengers a year, but it is now a long way from that. The top dog in the passenger business at Hahn, the Irish low-cost airline Ryanair, reduced its offer in the Hunsrück and relocated flights to neighboring, larger airports such as Frankfurt am Main and Cologne / Bonn.

Operations Manager Goetzmann emphasized at the beginning of October: “We controlled the tap without subsidies and without short-time work through Corona.” In previous years, operating aid from the state of Rhineland-Palatinate had been granted. According to their report published in the Federal Gazette, the airport management expected a shortfall for 2020. Depending on the course of the pandemic, plans are made “that by the year 2024 a positive group annual result can be achieved,” it said. After that, airports are generally no longer allowed to receive state subsidies in accordance with EU law.

Other airports affected

Hahn is not the first German airport to have to go to an insolvency court. The Paderborn and Rostock-Laage locations have survived the insolvency accelerated by Corona and also at the Bodensee-Airport Friedrichshafen, administrator Alexander Hubl was optimistic that the pending approval by the EU Commission will bring the self-administration procedure to a happy end.

The small airports simply lack money because the federal and state governments focused their rescue operation at the beginning of the year on the 15 larger airports in Germany. The small regional airports should be relieved of 20 million euros in air traffic control costs, but this will only really have an impact in the coming year and should no longer have helped the Hunsrück location.

The airports as a whole are doing modestly, said the chief executive of the industry association ADV, Ralph Beisel. “The airports made a loss of 2.1 billion euros before taxes last year and this year it will be 1.5 billion euros.” The pictures of long queues during the summer and autumn holidays gave the wrong picture. “Our terminals are still far too empty with passenger numbers around 50 percent compared to the pre-crisis level,” said Beisel.

Environmentalists were the many regional ones Airports were a horror even before the pandemic. In a large-scale study, the Federation for the Environment and Nature Conservation (BUND) put the rooster on a list of seven locations that could be dispensed with immediately. They made little contribution to connectivity, were permanently dependent on subsidies and had declining passenger numbers, was the criticism in the report, which was published in August 2020. Approval came from the VCD traffic club, the Left and the Greens, among others.

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