1989 to 2000

Changing times, dawn of a new era: Passenger numbers multiply, airport undergoes comprehensive modernisation

By late 1989 the political situation was changing dramatically, and the citizens of East Germany succeeded in winning the long sought-after freedom to travel. As early as December that year INTERFLUG opened its first air route to Hamburg, and the following months saw the launch of flights to many major West German and Western European cities. After the reunification of Germany, management of the airport transferred the newly-founded Flughafen Dresden GmbH. Today, its shareholders are Mitteldeutsche Flughafen AG, the Free State of Saxony and the rural districts of Bautzen and Meissen.

The early 1990s saw a veritable explosion in the volume of traffic at the airport: tour operators introduced numerous new holiday offerings, charter airlines opened routes to popular tourist spots around the Mediterranean, and large numbers of Saxon government employees commuted between western Germany and Dresden on the “civil servant shuttles”. Passenger numbers increased from 203,541 in 1990 to more than one million just two years later. The airport’s infrastructure urgently needed to be adapted to this meteoric rise.

In 1992 a new building was opened next to the Hansahaus (Terminal 1). With this new Terminal 2 the airport was able to keep pace with the new demands and significantly improve the standard of its handling services. But soon Terminal 2 reached its capacity as well, and just three years later, in 1995, an extension created out of an adjacent aircraft works hangar was opened. The two modern terminals together now had a capacity of 2.4 million passengers per year.

At the same time, all the airport’s functional areas - from air traffic control to the energy supply, from the electronic control system to the catering, from the environmental measures to the airport fire service - were reorganised and updated. A former 1935 aircraft hanger was transformed into the airport’s air cargo centre.

Since 1998 the airport has had an online presence with its multilingual website www.dresden-airport.de. The same year saw the airport’s operations office move to the converted Hall 224, where the handling vehicles of the airport’s sister company PortGround GmbH are still housed today. Dresden Airport was also given its own dedicated motorway exit: the four-lane feeder road Hermann-Reichelt-Strasse was opened in 1999.

On 8 September 1998 the foundation stone for the biggest expansion of the airport since the 1950s was laid. The former aircraft assembly hangar 219, in its day the biggest single-span industrial building in Eastern Germany, was converted into the Dresden Airport Terminal - 170 metres long, 150 metres wide and 25 metres high.

2001 to 2010: More modern and more efficient than ever before: the new Dresden Airport

Illustration: A journey through the history of aviation in Dresden

Click on the image to download (PDF file, 455 kB, German only)