Managing Director Dr. Hille in an exclusive interview

Managing Director Dr. Hille in an exclusive interview.
Despite difficult circumstances, Hanover Airport managed to maintain steady passenger levels in 2016. It also succeeded in making a profit once more. This year, many new projects and investments are planned for HAJ. On Business Talk, Managing Director Dr. Raoul Hille discusses some current airport topics.

Dr. Hille, last year was fraught with challenges – the Turkey crisis, lots of strike days and concerns about TUIfly and AirBerlin. And yet Hanover Airport managed to handle 5.4 million passengers. That’s good news to start with, isn’t it?

Dr. Raoul Hille – Managing Director of Hanover Airport

“Indeed. As you said, it was a turbulent year. Not to mention Obama’s visit, various construction measures and more. We were glad to have 5.4 million passengers, considering the circumstances. But I admit we would have preferred serving even more passengers at Hanover Airport without all the turbulence. As I said, considering the circumstances, our performance was quite respectable.”

Was this reflected in your business results? Were you able to make a profit again?

Dr. Raoul Hille – Managing Director of Hanover Airport

“Yes, we managed to make a small profit. In terms of traffic volume, we are the smallest airport in Germany to keep achieving this, and in 2016 we managed to be in the black once more.”

According to one business statistic you are a top performer, namely in terms of “profit per passenger”. What exactly does that mean?

Dr. Raoul Hille – Managing Director of Hanover Airport

“Well, it’s a relatively straightforward parameter. You take the annual net profit, divide it by the number of passengers and see what comes out. If we say we are proud to excel in this respect, some customers might think ‘Oh, they’re making a fortune’ but we are actually talking about less than one Euro per passenger. In the airport business that’s a good result, but in comparison to other industry sectors, it’s quite modest.”

Let’s take a look at the current year. Low-cost flights continue to be a hot topic for passengers. How well is Hanover Airport positioned in this transport segment?

Dr. Raoul Hille – Managing Director of Hanover Airport

“Of course you can fly inexpensively with almost all of our airlines. Low-cost tickets are the ultra-cheap ones you can buy if you book in time. The so-called “low-cost” share is about 20%, with a slight upward trend. In the past this segment was represented by Flybe, Eurowings and Vueling, which were joined by Wizz Air in 2016 and in 2017 by Norwegian, so that makes a total of five carriers that cover this segment well.”

Hanover Airport is also the holiday airport of the North. What destinations are particularly popular this year?

Dr. Raoul Hille – Managing Director of Hanover Airport

“The Mediterranean region, one could say. Classic destinations like the Balearic Islands, Spain, Greece more and more, North Africa, Turkey. We expect a last-minute boom here. We are relatively optimistic, assuming the geopolitical situation doesn’t get in our way.”

Let’s look at the airport as an enterprise. Sustainability and social issues are increasingly important for any enterprise. How well is Hanover Airport positioned in this regard?

Dr. Raoul Hille – Managing Director of Hanover Airport

“We were one of the first airports to be distinguished for sustainability, to get EMAS certification. And as an employer, we have launched a whole series of initiatives and activities and we have received several awards as a Top Job employer. Issues such as compatibility of family and work, health management, demographic management, etc. – these are the topics of the times and we want to engage with them.”

If you look at the new year once more, which topic matters most to you?

Dr. Raoul Hille – Managing Director of Hanover Airport

“We hope to have a year without geopolitical upheavals, without so many strikes and flight cancellations so that vacationers, our passengers, can get to the destinations they booked without having to put up with diversions and waiting times. We have our fingers crossed and hope everything works out well.”

 

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