Hamburg airport is building a new cargo facility and planning to install six new aircraft passenger bridges in place of the existing freight centre.
The German hub is moving its cargo facility from its current site near the passenger terminals to a new location on the airport's southern side - outside the perimeter, and close to the main entrance of Lufthansa Technik's maintenance base.
A tunnel will be built to transport freight between the future facility and aircraft. The new site, which is currently used as a public car park, is on higher terrain than the apron.
Ground for the cargo centre will be broken in about a year, with the opening due to follow in spring 2015, says the airport operator.
The new cargo centre will be no larger than the existing one, with the main objective being to modernise facilities which date back to the 1960s.
Last year's cargo volume stood at 67.700t, down 5.4% from 2010.
The site of the existing freight centre - south of passenger terminal 2 - is to be converted as an apron for six aircraft stands with passenger bridges.
Aircraft will therefore be able to taxi around the southern part of the passenger pier - which links the terminals and houses the existing passenger bridges - and to park both west and east of the pier.
Similar plans had existed for the northern section of the pier when the airport layout was originally designed in the late 1980s. This area is currently occupied by a disused charter terminal and was intended to be used as an apron extension - plans which the airport says will not be resurrected under the new extension.
Planning permission has yet to be granted for the six additional passenger bridges in the southern part of the pier, with management so far only revealing their proposal for the area. Both the supervisory board and Hamburg's city administration must give approval of the plan.
However, if passenger numbers develop as expected then the airport says that construction could begin in 2015. The opening of the additional aircraft stands would then follow in 2017.
The cost of the project is estimated at between €50-60 million ($65-78 million).