pzurita1
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Why Was FRA Chosen As LH Hub?

Wed Mar 17, 2004 9:12 am

May be the answer might be very obvios to some of you guys, but I would still like to start this thread.

Why was Frankfurt considered to be the hub and main base of LH? At that time being, FRA was not the largest city, was not the capital city, was not the most industrial area, and was not that centrally located... instead, was a medium size city.

Any info will be greatly appreciated to solve my curiosity.

PZ
Next flight: IAH-DBX-MRU-ANT
 
LH423
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RE: Why Was FRA Chosen As LH Hub?

Wed Mar 17, 2004 9:32 am

Yes, not the most central in Germany, but in Europe you don't get much more centrally located except for the possible exception of maybe Zurich. Also, Frankfurt has for a long time been the financial capital of Germany.

LH423
« On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux » Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
 
ei a330-200
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RE: Why Was FRA Chosen As LH Hub?

Wed Mar 17, 2004 9:51 am

I hate to be one of those people who tell you to do a search, but this question came up like last week. I believe it was chosen because at the time LH was choosing a hub, FRA was located in West Germany, it was centrally located, it was easily accessable, and it was the financial and business areas of Germany.
 
panam330
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RE: Why Was FRA Chosen As LH Hub?

Wed Mar 17, 2004 10:17 am

FRA is the financial center of Germany- much like NYC is the financial center for the USA- the world, too, actually. Nevertheless, FRA had a great somewhat-centralized location, and an airport large enough to handle the # of flights LH wanted out of their hub. Also, a great place to connect when going from the USA to Asia, if you go the "long way".
 
keno
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RE: Why Was FRA Chosen As LH Hub?

Wed Mar 17, 2004 10:57 am

I wonder why Berlin wasn't developed to match FRA & MUC. It's the nation's capital and often claims the title "the centre/capital of Europe" since the unification. Why not give the former East Germany a piece of the action now?
 
panam330
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RE: Why Was FRA Chosen As LH Hub?

Wed Mar 17, 2004 11:06 am

Did LH have trans-atlantic non-stops from Berlin at any time? How about the smaller German cities, like HAM or others. Have they ever had Trans-Atlantic service? I know that DUS has LTU and used to have CO and UA. Any other cities other than MUC or FRA?
 
sw733
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RE: Why Was FRA Chosen As LH Hub?

Wed Mar 17, 2004 11:12 am

LH had an IAD - TXL nonstop a few years back, right? Didn't last long if I remember. What a shame, Berlin is a GREAT city
 
PHX Flyer
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RE: Why Was FRA Chosen As LH Hub?

Wed Mar 17, 2004 11:29 am

That's an easy question to answer: It was the first major airport in West Germany that was opened to civilian air traffic after WWII.
Else Lufthansa might have stayed in Cologne, where LH 1 had one of their major hubs before the war, and where LH 2 was incorporated. As a matter of fact, their corproate headquarters is still in Cologne. However, that city did not have a functional civilian airport until 1957. By that time, FRA was already established as the primary gateway of West Germany.
 
yegbey01
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RE: Why Was FRA Chosen As LH Hub?

Wed Mar 17, 2004 11:32 am

KEno,

Berlin Airports are being coslidated. A brand new airport is being built and it will provide formidable competition to both MUC and FRA.

FRA can not grow very much anymore because of noise concerns. This is why LH has been puching more and more flights out of MUC.

 
StevenUhl777
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RE: Why Was FRA Chosen As LH Hub?

Wed Mar 17, 2004 11:55 am

Re: Berlin...

Wasn't really able to be developed for the longest time, due to the division and the fact it was surrounded by East Germany (GDR/DDR). Even after reunification 14 years ago, it was an "island' surrounded by a virtually nonexistent economy, and therefore there was no demand initially to put together a huge international gateway.

The German economy is in a recession, and while some improvements have been made to infrastructure in the former East, the economic center is still largely in the western area of the country. The German government has been spending $70 billion annually to rebuild the east, and now that the capital is back in Berlin, I still think it will take several more years before it becomes the true center of Germany again.

According to A-net user Leskova, TXL and Tempelhof are closed or will be closed within a matter of years, and the modern airport will be at what is now Schoenefeld Flughafen (SXF) south of the city, in what was formerly East Berlin. New runways and terminals are being constructed, and I think it's set to open in 2006 or 2007. BBI is the name of the project...Berlin/Brandenburg Flughafen, though SXF I think will stay as the IATA code for it. My feeling is that LH will keep their hub at FRA, but will still be the largest carrier by far at MUC and the new Berlin airport.

Hope that helps. Berlin is an AMAZING city..I love it there...last time was May '93 and I'm going back this July, I can hardly wait.
And the winner for best actress is....REESE WITHERSPOON for 'Walk the Line'!!!!!!!!
 
PHX Flyer
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RE: Why Was FRA Chosen As LH Hub?

Wed Mar 17, 2004 11:58 am

<< Any other cities other than MUC or FRA? >>

From 1960 until the early 80s LH had a daily flight CGN-JFK, and in the early 90s they operated CGN-EWR an CGN-IAD
 
yegbey01
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RE: Why Was FRA Chosen As LH Hub?

Wed Mar 17, 2004 12:04 pm

Berlin.. being the largest city in all of Eastern Europe (I believe close to 5 million) and the capital of the most powerful economy in Europe... will eventually (once the new airport has been developed) develop into a large hub. No question about that. Whether it will be LH.. I don't think so. But there will definitely be some NEW airline that will recognize the potential some day.

Just my two cents...
 
SailorOrion
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RE: Why Was FRA Chosen As LH Hub?

Wed Mar 17, 2004 5:07 pm

LH was not permitted to operate flights to Berlin until 1990. Today, Berlin is an economically struggling region (20% unemployment) and yields are VERY low. (TXL-IAD was not able to make any profit, despite VERY high load factors).

Two words about BBI: It's a pretty important project for the entire eastern Gemany region, but I don't see it coming before 2012 or later. Official plannings are now counting on winter 2010 for entry into service, but then again, MUC was planned to open 1972, and it opened in 92.

Also, in the 1940s, FRA was in the race of becoming Germany's capital, but that way before a hub system was developed.

Now LH operates the "meshed hub" FRA/MUC, which begin to act more and more like a single large hub; as opposed to other airlines that operate two or more hubs, the FRA and MUC schedules are highly coordinated to one another.

I don't see Berlin becoming any kind of LH hub, at least not before 2015 or 2020; but it is possible that Air Berlin develops Berlin as a hub in not too distant future; we'll see

SailorOrion
 
fraT
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RE: Why Was FRA Chosen As LH Hub?

Wed Mar 17, 2004 9:44 pm

Besides FRA and MUC, DL has a daily flight from STR to ATL. LH (with Privatair) has a Business Jet service to ORD six times a week. DL also used to fly STR-NYC but this one was axed as well as their service out of HAM.

Like SailorOrion said, the economy in and around Berlin is very weak. It is the center of Germany in many ways but for sure not it's commercial center. And that won't change within the next decade. Easy Jet will open a base there and that might work out. But LH and other carriers which look for business pax, will not use Berlin as a hub, even with the opening of BBI, which is years away.

I agree with what was said above. Berlin is a great city. But you won't fly there nonstop from another continent any time soon.
 
747spa330md11
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RE: Why Was FRA Chosen As LH Hub?

Wed Mar 17, 2004 10:09 pm

******
PanAm330:

Did LH have trans-atlantic non-stops from Berlin at any time? How about the smaller German cities, like HAM or others. Have they ever had Trans-Atlantic service?

********

In 1991 or 1992 I flew with PanAm on Airbus 310 Non Stop EWR-HAM
For me this was an excellent connection, because I hate Frankfurt Airport. Now for my flights to Asia I use to go via Amsterdam and fly KLM.

Best regards,
Jan
Save the 747 SP !!
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Why Was FRA Chosen As LH Hub?

Wed Mar 17, 2004 10:11 pm

KEno said:
I wonder why Berlin wasn't developed to match FRA & MUC. It's the nation's capital and often claims the title "the centre/capital of Europe" since the unification. Why not give the former East Germany a piece of the action now?


It's only been a little over a decade. Give them time.


PanAm330 said:
FRA is the financial center of Germany- much like NYC is the financial center for the USA- the world, too, actually.

`
Was that last bit really necessary?



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
mozart
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RE: Why Was FRA Chosen As LH Hub?

Wed Mar 17, 2004 10:34 pm

A couple of additions here:

FRA was not the largest city, was not the capital city, was not the most industrial area, and was not that centrally located

Frankfurt was almost the capital of Germany after WWII. When West Germany had to pick a capital, FRA was the top contender because of its economic and financial importance and also for historic reasons (Paul Church meeting in the 19th century, a sort of first pan-German assembly). Moreover, it is quite centrally located for Western Germany. The most "central point" would be somewhere between Kassel and Siegen, i.e. in perfect no man's land. FRA was a good choice.

Did LH have trans-atlantic non-stops from Berlin at any time? How about the smaller German cities, like HAM or others. Have they ever had Trans-Atlantic service? I know that DL), Germany">DUS has LTU and used to have CO and UA. Any other cities other than MUC or FRA?

I think the Berlin question was answered above. Just want to add that the TXL-IAD service was introduced in spring 2001 and axed after 9/11. Juergen Weber, Lufthansa CEO at the time, pleaded with the local Berlin businesses to make use of that flight (daily A 340) as this would be a test for LH of Berlin's attractivneness for longhaul travel. Bear in mind that air traffic wise Berlin is a bad joke: LH flies mainline jets only to domestic destinations, the few international destinations that are served only see CRJs and the like. Other airlines do have some presence, but notable intercont players like DL (which did JFK-Berlin TXL) and SQ (which did SIN-VIE-Berlin SXF) pulled out. The European players are there, but compared to what you get to see in say Munich or even DL), Germany">DUS, Berlin is backwaters. The reasons for Berlin's lack of attractiveness are very well explained by StevenUhl777.

Other German airports: there is a long history of LH intercont flights from cities other than FRA in the 80s and 90s (before that I don't know):

HAM: used to see a 747 twice a week that went FRA-HAM-ANC-NRT-OSA, up until the mid 80s I think. Later on, an A310 did TXL-HAM-EWR for a very short period of time. LAter on, there was a HAM-DL), Germany">DUS-JFK service, in the end it was a 737 going from HAM to DL), Germany">DUS connecting to a 310 to JFK.

DL), Germany">DUS: THe DC10, later 310 service to JFK with feeders from HAM and for some time also from MUC, later turned into an A340 to EWR. That was axed after 9/11. Today, LH uses Business Class-only BBJ and A319LR to EWR and ORD. Also, in the past there were DC10s going FRA-DL), Germany">DUS-MIA and FRA-DL), Germany">DUS-YYZ

CGN: Cologne has an interesting history. There was an effort by LH around 1989 to establish CGN as a hub. Alongside a number of European flights they also introduced A310 flights to IAD and EWR - at the time those were the first LH flights to these destinations.

MUC: MUC used to have its DC10s to JFK and to ORD during the 80s (I still remember a DC10 at the old Riem airport), later on there was an A310 doing MUC-DL), Germany">DUS-JFK, which later turned into a nonstop service. Today, LH serves 18 intercontinental destinations from MUC (YUL, YVR from this spring on, BOS, JFK, EWR, CLT from this spring on, MIA, ORD, SFO, LAX, JNB, DXB, TEH, DEL from this spring on, NRT, PEK from this spring on, PVG-CAN as one flight), plus a number of Star Alliance partner flights: UA to IAD, AC to YYZ, TG to BKK. In the past, there had been LH flights to BKK, SIN and KIX.

What is interesting to see is that there are some destinations that are only served out of MUC and no longer from FRA, such as CAN or CLT or at the time KIX. In terms of number of European and domestic flights, LH says that MUC is as big as FRA today.
 
hz747300
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RE: Why Was FRA Chosen As LH Hub?

Wed Mar 17, 2004 10:36 pm

If you go to the Frankfurt and grab the walking tour brochure from the Sofitel, you will read that Frankfurt was the commerce capital of the Germanic area since it was granted free trade rights by the emperor in and around 1100AD.

In Frankfurt now, it is really easy to see why. The city itself may not be large, but the amount of business there would justify it now certainly.
Keep on truckin'...
 
Guest

RE: Why Was FRA Chosen As LH Hub?

Wed Mar 17, 2004 10:40 pm

First of all: Berlin isn't in Eastern Europe.
Also there is lots of industry and lots of companies in and around FRA. BER has Berlin, nothing much in the surroundings.
Also FRA has excellent surface transportation possibilities - direct trains to Frankfurt Airport (trains are very important for Germany, so airlines have very cheap feeder services to FRA, not to BER).
That's the point.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Why Was FRA Chosen As LH Hub?

Wed Mar 17, 2004 10:41 pm

If nothing else, the stock exchange is there. Although London is more important, Frankfurt is by far the most important financial center of continental Europe.

Mozart: Great history lesson, thx! I believe the reason that Frankfurt was not chosen is because Bonn could more easily be seen as a temporary solution until reunification (yes they already thought about it waaaay back).

However, it would seem that money snubs it's nose at politics, as usual.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
mozart
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RE: Why Was FRA Chosen As LH Hub?

Wed Mar 17, 2004 10:49 pm

Starlionblue,

one of the other deciding factors for the choice of Bonn instead of FRA was that a certain Konrad Adenauer (Chancellor of West Germany for more than a decade after WWII) was from there.

Also FRA has excellent surface transportation possibilities - direct trains to Frankfurt Airport (trains are very important for Germany, so airlines have very cheap feeder services to FRA, not to BER).

True, but that did not matter when FRA was picked as LH's hub. LH started developing FRA a long time before FRA and FRA Airport had great railway connections. It is true that historically FRA was well connected to the rest of Germany, but historically COlogne had actually been much better connected. Moreover, the German railway system developed step-wise after the war as most of it had been destroyed, so there was no way the LH folks after the war could judge the actual situation of the railway system in the 1970s or 1980s.
 
mrniji
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RE: Why Was FRA Chosen As LH Hub?

Wed Mar 17, 2004 10:53 pm

Arguments for FRA:

- economic capital (!!)
- opened after WW II (Berlin Bridge)
- in the center of Germany
- almost became capital of Germany after WW II

Berlin.. being the largest city in all of Eastern Europe (I believe close to 5 million) and the capital of the most powerful economy in Europe... will eventually (once the new airport has been developed) develop into a large hub. No question about that.

Berlin indeed is a great city... but it was sourrounded by East Germany, as stated before. So, having the German hub there made no sense... and getting traffic rights for BER was not possible for everyone, like LH, as said

There is the ambitious project in developing Schoenefeld SFX to a huge a/p. But in my eyes, this strategy will fail. I lived 3 years in BER, and it is absolutely in the middle of nowhere (surrounded by thousands of village) and has no economic structure and opportunities. It is a great city, but tourism isn't enough. Then, FRA and and MUC have much better structures and oportunities, economy... in the case of FRA, the Rhein-Main Area is very strong. Making another hub in Berlin makes no sense
"The earth provides enough resources for everyone's need, but not for some people's greed." (Gandhi)
 
racko
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RE: Why Was FRA Chosen As LH Hub?

Wed Mar 17, 2004 11:10 pm

Another reason that Bonn was chosen over Frankfurt in 1949 is that the back-then chief of the CDU and first chancellor of Germany Konrad Adenauer was in favour of it as it was close to his own home town.

Germany is, unlike many other European countries (France, the UK), a polycentric country, where the cultural, financial and political centres are not in the same city. Therefore, a decision for the one, main hub wasn't as easy as it was with Paris or London.
 
mrniji
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RE: Why Was FRA Chosen As LH Hub?

Wed Mar 17, 2004 11:15 pm

Generally great text, Racko...

Germany is, unlike many other European countries (France, the UK), a
polycentric country, where the cultural, financial and political centres are not in the same city. Therefore, a decision for the one, main hub wasn't as easy as it was with Paris or London.


and it was probably the federal structure which made Germany so successfulpost WW II. Since the economic capital - unlike others, as you say - was chosen to be in FRA, no wonder FRA has become the hub.
The Adenauer interpretation is correct, too... and although Bonn became capital, Cologne is too far from the center to become a big airport. It was clever to decentralize capital, economy...
"The earth provides enough resources for everyone's need, but not for some people's greed." (Gandhi)
 
pzurita1
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RE: Why Was FRA Chosen As LH Hub?

Thu Mar 18, 2004 1:27 am

Thank you all for your great input, summarized by Mrniji.

PZ
Next flight: IAH-DBX-MRU-ANT
 
PHX Flyer
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RE: Why Was FRA Chosen As LH Hub?

Thu Mar 18, 2004 6:14 am

Sorry, in light of all this misinformation that has accumulated here, I can't help posting some annotations to put some things straight (My apologies to those who will be bored to death after my brief digression on German history  Yawn )

@ Hz747300
... grab the walking tour brochure from the Sofitel, you will read that Frankfurt was the commerce capital of the Germanic area since it was granted free trade rights by the emperor in and around 1100AD.

I would rather not rely on a flyer for accurate information. With a tad of research you would find that a) one millennium earlier, Cologne was already the most important trade city within the Roman Empire north of the Alps, b) by the time when Frankfurt received trade rights, Cologne was already one of the big players in the Hanseatic League, and its citizens embarked on building the world's largest, most splendid Gothic cathedral to praise the Lord for their fortune ...



Frankfurt was and is an important trade city, but it is not an economic center like London. It is the location of the largest German stock exchange, and it is the most important banking city, but unlike London it is not the German insurance capital (that title would go to Cologne and Munich), and it is not an important tradeport (that would be Hamburg), Also, banking alone does not necessarily warrant a mega-hub operation. Case in point: The second-largest banking capital in the US is (would you have guessed it?) Charlotte, NC, and yet, the hub operation there is rather modest.

@ Racko
... Another reason that Bonn was chosen over Frankfurt in 1949 is that the back-then chief of the CDU and first chancellor of Germany Konrad Adenauer was in favour of it as it was close to his own home town.

This is merely an anecdote, nothing more. For one, Bonn was never "the capital" of West Germany. Berlin retained that title throughout the Cold War. Bonn was merely the (temporary) seat of the West German government, and it was chosen primarily in order to underline the temporary character. Now, if Frankfurt had been chosen, it would have opened another can of worms, because Frankfurt could have easily made claims to become a true capital. After all, it was for centuries the city, where the East Frankish kings were elected, and - with the first National Assembly held in 1848 - it became the birthplace of democracy in Germany. However, as I said before, Adenauer' s goal was to retain Berlin's status as the only legitimate capital of Germany. Starlionblue is 100% correct in his posting #19

@ Mrniji
Cologne is too far from the center to become a big airport.

Sorry, but a quick glance at a map of Germany will tell you just how silly that statement is. And re-read #7: before WWII, Cologne was the "Hub of the West" in Lufthansa's network. Nuff said.

To sum it up: The simple answer, why Lufthansa chose FRA as their first hub lies in my posting # 7: It was the first available suitable airport after WWII, and it was certainly not a bad choice, but it was somewhat arbitrary. As Mozart pointed out correctly, much of the infrastructure, including the airport railroad station, was built decades later.

A few more comments: over 30% of all O&D traffic at Frankfurt airport is generated by Germany's most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia. This means that most of these travelers have to pass through Cologne, the biggest city in that state, located near the southern border. Now, if those travelers were offered comparable flight options (in terms of quality and price) closer to their origin or destination, what do you think their likely reaction would be? I think the answer is obvious and therefore it appears questionable whether Lufthansa will be able to defend its dominant position in the long run by solely relying on FRA for the coverage of central Germany. Economically, Germany is indeed multicentric, and Lufthansa would probably be better off in the long run, if that fact was somehow better reflected in their route structure (notwithstanding the advantages of a hub operation). In defense of Lufthansa, I'd have to say that they did try in the past to tackle this issue and probably will continue to do so.

Hamburg shot itself in the foot, when they ignored Lufthansa's request to build a new airport outside the city with an infrastructure that could support a hub operation.

In Cologne, Lufthansa made indeed an attempt to rebuild the "Hub of the West" as Mozart posted above, However, the big airline crisis of the 90s - triggered by the bombing of PA 103 and the gulf war - brought these efforts to a screeching halt. Then MUC came up, and it was a window of opportunity that Lufthansa could not possibly allow to pass.
Meanwhile, the coverage of North Rhine-Westphalia still leaves much to be desired. Lufthansa has a minority stake in Germanwings, a low-cost airline operating mostly out of CGN to over 30 destinations with A319 an A320 aircraft. They have enormous success, and LH has an option to acquire a controlling interest in that airline. I wouldn't rule out the possibility that they may get integrated in the LH network one day. Also, LH Cargo has established a second hub in CGN, with numerous nonstops to the US and Asia. Therefore, it would not surprise me, if LH officially opened a third hub there at some stage. It is without question the only other airport in Germany that has the infrastructure to support a hub operation. including a railroad station right under the main terminal, which opens in just a few months, with hourly bullet train service to the industrial Ruhr area and - of course - to FRA (in less then an hour). If FRA does not get approval for its ambitious expansion plan, we might see that development fairly soon.

Now to Berlin: I certainly share Steven's love for the city, it really is amazing. However, as far as the aviation infrastruture is concerned, it's a mess. Plain and simple. Anybody, who believes that they will build a new hub-capable airport in the foreseeable future, probably believes in Santa Claus too. The idea of consolidating airport operations is certainly understandable, however, I have yet to see a solid plan to finance this ambitious project. The local politicians were unable to attract private capital, the city is bankrupt, and the federal government does not have billions to spare either. So, BBI is not going to happen anytime soon, and in the meantime, LH does not have to worry about missing the boat in Berlin.
 
mrniji
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RE: Why Was FRA Chosen As LH Hub?

Thu Mar 18, 2004 6:37 am

Dear PHX Flyer,

I strongly appreciate your comments, because you show that you comprehensively attempt to answer the questions. Many things you say are very well elaborated.

Just one comment, with the "Adenauer anecdote". We agree that Germany was supposed to reunite as soon as possible, so said Art 23 (or 25, I don't know by heart) of the German constitution. Right, when you say that Bonn was only a temporary capital, but don't forget, it was the capital nonetheless, especially as the cold war deteriorated (it was more than "Regierungssitz" = seat of govt, compared to The Hague or Tel Aviv) and we weren't sure whether it will ever come to an end. Even after reunification, it wasn't 100 % sure (but almost certain) whether Berlin should become capital again - I myself was rather against, keeping in mind the costs of over $20 Billion...
The Adenauer story might be an anecdote, but it has - I have graduated in German history - a high amount of truth ( I don't want to say it is 100 % true, because historians agree...)

Even if cologne was the hub before, we agree that many things changed, not only borders, after WW II and new facts were given. That's why my opinion (I call it opinion, not answer, because we probably agree that there are no monocausal answers). Even if Frankfurt is smaller than London in terms of economics, it is big enough to be called an economic capital. I lived almost 20 yrs in that city, it is very dynamic and compared to many other cities still has a quite high potential to develop... infrastructure is great. Don't forget the choice of the ECB in favor of FRA...

But I have to say, I think your answer is really respectworthy, especially the amount of time for you to research and analyze - I really liked it... That's why I have added you to my respected Users List, because that is just the way discussions should go on and you really deserved it...

All the best, Mrniji  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

Edit: btw, if Lufthansa attempted to build a hub in Nordrhein-Westphalen, they would rather choose DUS (Duesseldorf), I think... and I liked your comments on BER, since they in a huge extent match my comments


[Edited 2004-03-17 22:41:00]
"The earth provides enough resources for everyone's need, but not for some people's greed." (Gandhi)