DHL to move European hub to Leipzig

9th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

9 November 2004 , BERLIN - Air freight company DHL Worldwide Express - owned by Deutsche Post AG - said on Tuesday it was moving its international European hub from Brussels to the eastern German city of Leipzig. The company will open its new Leipzig hub in 2008 and by 2012 will employ 3,500 people, said Deutsche Post CEO Klaus Zumwinkel. Another 7,000 jobs are expected from outsourced activities.

9 November 2004 

BERLIN - Air freight company DHL Worldwide Express - owned by Deutsche Post AG - said on Tuesday it was moving its international European hub from Brussels to the eastern German city of Leipzig.

The company will open its new Leipzig hub in 2008 and by 2012 will employ 3,500 people, said Deutsche Post CEO Klaus Zumwinkel. Another 7,000 jobs are expected from outsourced activities.

In a historic touch, the DHL decision for Leipzig came on the 15th anniversary of the opening of the Berlin Wall which led to the 1990 German unification.

Leipzig airport allows unlimited operations 24-hours a day. DHL's move follows its decision to leave Brussels after Belgian officials refused to allow more night flights into Zanventem airport.

Homeowners near the Brussels airport had complained about noise from night flights and Belgian officials had demanded DHL use quieter planes instead of its ageing MD11s. But this was rejected by the company.

DHL executives initially said they were considering either Leipzig or the French airport Vatry near Paris as a new hub after talks with Belgian officials collapsed.

Zumwinkel said Leipzig won out because its airport has a big capacity to increase flights and due to the overall infrastructure of the region.

Deutsche Post is still majority owned by the German state but Zumwinkel did not say if this had played any role in the decision.

Leipzig has expanded and modernized its airport over the past decade with investments totalling over EUR 1.0 billion. A report in the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper said a further EUR 300 million would be spent renovating and shifting the direction of the airport's southern runway.

An additional EUR 70 million in aid for the airport has been approved from the European Union.

DHL's decision is a big boost for Leipzig which is becoming eastern Germany's most important business centre. Located in pro-business Saxony state, the city has already attracted German carmakers BMW and Porsche which have built major plants close to the airport.

The city's historic downtown had undergone a massive renovation and Leipzig brims with culture not least for having been the home of composer Johann Sebastian Bach.

"(DHL) will become an economic magnet for the region," predicted Zumwinkel.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder hailed the move.

"The growth region Leipzig/Halle is first choice for international investors," said Schroeder in a statement, adding: "This is a good day for east Germany."

Communist East Germany's biggest pro-democracy protests were in Leipzig during 1989 and the city's inhabitants achieved a legendary status for standing up to the hardline regime.

 DPA

Subject: German news

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