Copenhagen airport ambitions extend to 40m passengers

Copenhagen
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Copenhagen airport has set out a vision of being able to cater for 40 million passengers without building an additional terminal or runway, and of gaining Airbus A380 handling capability in the near term.

The airport operator today launched an initiative to business leaders in Copenhagen to highlight the growth potential and is looking to the region’s various business, tourism, and political bodies to work together to support the vision.

“We know we can grow the traffic, but what is crucial is: will it take 20 or 30 years to do that? There is a huge buy-in [from the region]. The thing is, it needs to be tangible, not just talk,” says Copenhagen airport chief executive Thomas Woldbye.

“We know what we can do and how we do it. We can grow from 26 million passengers annually to 40 million without moving the outer perimeter fence,” he adds. “This is something we didn’t know even two years ago. And we can do that without building another runway, and we didn’t know that two years ago either.”

Original thinking for long-term expansion at the Danish airport was based around a fourth terminal at Copenhagen. But Woldbye points to a desire from passengers for more compact airports: “We will not build a new terminal but will expand the existing terminal. We have already embarked on some of that work [at Terminal 2] but at some point there will be a major extension.”

The investment programme is earmarked to run until 2035, but Woldbye believes the expansion approach – rather than an all-new terminal – provides more flexibility to track economic cycles. “We can accelerate or decelerate as required,” he notes.

Development plans include extending its existing Pier C and later an all-new pier which Woldbye says will “probably be dedicated for very large aircraft”.

But the airport will be able to handle an A380 at one gate under the development plans for Pier C, work on which has already begun. “We’ve not had a request for this yet, but we anticipate we will have request for that very soon”.

Several A380 operators – including non-European carriers Emirates, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways – already fly to Copenhagen.