20 January 2004
BERLIN – Deutsche Post AG said Tuesday no decision had been made on moving the European hub of its DHL express package carrier from Brussels airport to a new location – but that the German city of Leipzig was in the running if it chose to quit Belgium.
“There are capacity problems (in Brussels) which have to be resolved,” said Ina Quilling, a spokeswoman for Deutsche Post which owns DHL.
But Quilling stressed a decision was still pending on the future of DHL’s operations at Zaventem airport in Brussels, the company’s European hub which employs about 3,000 people.
The Wall Street Journal reported DHL was considering leaving Brussels because it faced stiff opposition over raising its number of night flights to the airport to boost cargo shipments.
Quilling said a political decision was needed by Belgian leaders given strong public opposition to noise pollution around the airport.
“We remain strongly interested in the Brussels hub as a first choice,” said Quilling, adding that the company was also looking at alternatives.
“Leipzig is certainly one alternative.”
She declined to say when a final decision would be made over the fate of the Brussels DHL operation but noted the Belgian government would rule on whether to expand night flights in September.
Quilling denied media reports that DHL had bought a large property at Leipzig airport which is located about 140 kilometres south of the German capital Berlin.
Leipzig airport was expanded and a given a new terminal after the 1990 German unification. Unlike many other German airports, Leipzig allows planes to take off and land 24 hours a day because it is located well outside the city.
Getting the DHL super-hub for Europe would be a major coup for Leipzig and underline the city’s frontrunner status in eastern Germany.
Leipzig won tough bidding for major plants from German luxury carmakers BMW and Porsche and is Germany’s candidate for the summer Olympic Games in 2012.
DHL is a leading global air express and air freight company with some 250 aircraft, 60,000 delivery vehicles and 150,000 employees.
Subject: German news