2001 to 2010
More modern and more efficient than ever before: the new Dresden Airport
The new terminal building was opened in March 2001. With its industrial architecture, it is regarded as one of the most attractive of its kind in Germany. Dresden Airport S-Bahn station - Saxony’s first and only underground railway station - a multi-storey car park with around 1500 parking spaces and the new aircraft handling ramp 3 opened for business at the same time. A futuristic glazed Skywalk was built to connect the multi-storey car park with the terminal building, making the shortest distance between the car park and the check-in desks just 120 metres. The new weather radar tower, the architectural landmark on the access road to the terminal, won the City of Dresden’s Erlwein Prize in 2001.
Construction cranes continued to rotate at the airport over the next few years. A new fire station was built (2003), followed by a new air traffic control tower and a new small aircraft hangar (2005), a new main entrance (gate 14) to the security area (2006), a helicopter hangar for the police and the German Air Rescue Service (2007) and a logistics centre with three warehouses for DB Schenker (1999, 2003, 2005). The runway reconstruction project was a logistical masterpiece. In 2006/07 Dresden Airport completely overhauled its runway and extended it by 350 metres to 2850 metres, becoming the first airport in Europe to carry out a project of this kind while remaining operational. The first scheduled aircraft to use the new runway was a Lufthansa Boeing 737-500, which took off for Frankfurt on the morning of 30 August 2007. The old runway was torn up and greened over.
In 2009, in which the local district of Klotzsche celebrated its 700th anniversary, the airport renovated its ramp 2 and extended the multi-storey car park with 1300 more parking spaces, bringing the total to around 2,900 (completed in June 2010). The airport has also invested heavily in modern technology for the airport fire service, the Winter Service and passenger handling facilities. It pioneered the use of the state-of-the-art Panther 8x8 firefighting vehicle (2007) and CUSS (Common Use Self Service) self-check-in kiosks, which can be used by several different airlines simultaneously instead of just one per kiosk.
The shopping and eating facilities and the events portfolio at the terminal have also been expanded. Among the popular events hosted by the airport are Airport Night, which started in 2008, the regular Family Days, Travel Days and concerts in the Dixieland Festival and Dresden Jazz Days series. Dresden Airport has been boosting its reputation among regional and international customers as an exclusive venue for exhibitions and conferences. In service surveys it is consistently rated good or very good by passengers and visitors.
In 2009 there were almost 3,000 people working at Dresden International Airport, many of whom are employed by the many long-established aviation firms here. This industry has also been investing in modernising and expanding its facilities in recent years, returning Dresden to its standing as one of Germany’s most important aviation locations. EADS Elbe Flugzeugwerke, which converts Airbus passenger aircraft to cargo planes, opened its hangar stand 6 in 2006. In 2007/2008 it extended its hall 285 to accommodate Airbus A330s. In a specially constructed hangar, IABG Industrieanlagen Betriebsgesellschaft and IMA Materialforschung und Anwendungstechnik have been running material fatigue tests on the world’s biggest and most modern passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380-800, since 2005. Next to this test hanger IABG built another building for fatigue testing the Airbus A400M military transporter; these operations are set to get under way in 2010.
In 2008 the airport, the aviation companies based here and the Dresden Transport Museum celebrated the 50th anniversary of the maiden flight of the 152 passenger jet. The development of this legendary aircraft laid the foundation for the highly successful present-day aviation industry in Dresden.
After years of intensive building work, Dresden now boasts one of Germany’s most modern and efficient airports. It is used by up to 1.86 million passengers per year (2008), and more than 15 million have passed through since the new terminal was opened. Among the VIPs who have used Dresden are guests of state like US President Barack Obama, the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, the Danish Queen Margrethe II, and Prince Albert II of Monaco.
Besides Obama’s government jet Air Force One, Dresden Airport has recently played host to the Airbus A380 on touch and go flights and, on several occasions, the imposing Airbus A300-600 ST Beluga transporter.