detroitflyer
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Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 6:01 am

So, ive always wondered. Frankfurt is the 4th largest city in Germany. Why did LH decide to base themselves there? Could not they have got a lot more people by basing out of Berlin, Munich, Colonge or Berlin?

Also Berlin would have been the best considering it is furthest away from other large westen hubs and the largest city in Germany?
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captainmeeerkat
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 6:11 am

Perhaps but until 1990, don't forget that Germany was divided between East Germany and West Germany, as was Berlin. (The Berlin Wall). Very difficult to base yourself in a divided city where freedom to move freely was almost impossible.
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United1
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 6:19 am

Quoting detroitflyer (Thread starter):
So, ive always wondered. Frankfurt is the 4th largest city in Germany

It isn't the largest city in Germany but the region FRA is part of is the financial and industrial heart of Germany. In other words LH based itself where the money was...and where business travelers wanted to fly to.
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LOWS
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 6:32 am

Quoting detroitflyer (Thread starter):
Also Berlin would have been the best considering it is furthest away from other large westen hubs and the largest city in Germany?

Only airlines from the Ally countries were allowed to fly into Berlin during the coldwar. Interflug flew from SXF which was technically in Brandenburg, not Berlin.

Düsseldorf/Köln/Frankfurt/Stuttgart/München all developed independently during the 19th Century, since Germany wasn't united as a single country until 1871. As such, they all developed their own industries, cultures, etc.

Also, unlike Berlin, FRA is just about in the middle of the "Blue Banana" of European Population Density.
 
ordwaw
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 6:55 am

LH is actually headquarted in Cologne, the largest city of the largest industrial metropolitan area in Germany (Rhine-Ruhr).

Frankfurt am Main, which is the main LH hub, is the second largest metropolitan area and the largest financial center of the continental Europe, and also a significant commerce, cultural, transportation, and educational center. So in a sense as United1 indicated LH followed the money in choosing their main hub.

Let's not forget about MUC being another large hub, and the hub plans for the newly developed, and delayed airport in Berlin.
 
PanHAM
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:11 am

As was mentioned already, Germany did not have sovereignty over Berlin (including East Berlin) until 1990.

DUS had the leading edge over FRA in he 50s and early 60s, however, Lohausen Airport was too close to the city to be developed and the then state government of Northrhine Westphalia ruled that DUS became the "propeller airport" and CGN the "jet airport". No kidding. That's our far sighted political cast. The "music" always played at DUS, which has the bigger catchment area over CGN, and over FRA as well. Today, the region can be glad they have 2 airports that complement each otrher. Plus a couple of smaller ones.

That left FRA as the logical choice, beeing at the cross roads for centuries. FRA had the first Autobahn crossing (A3 and A5) it has the largest rail terminal and, as logical as Chicago, the largest airport. It is the geographic location, combined with an immediate metropolitan aera of 5,6 million people, to which another 1,2 million come from the Mannheim/Ludwigshafen/Heidelberg area, for which it is also the closest airport. FRA is not only the center of the "Blue Banana" biut of Europe, both demographic and geographic.

The ICE train station makes it an intermodal hub, serving as a fifth runway and extedning the catchment area farther.



Quoting ordwaw (Reply 4):
Let's not forget about MUC being another large hub, and the hub plans for the newly developed, and delayed airport in Berlin.

BER will be too small to become a major hub. Maybe in 2050 when first the extension becomes rality., meanwhile, Leipzig will take over, the state government there is more efficient than those of Berlin and Brandenburg.
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LOWS
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:38 am

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 5):
The ICE train station makes it an intermodal hub, serving as a fifth runway and extedning the catchment area farther.

And LH adds their code to a lot of ICE services that run through FRA to Köln/Düsseldorf and Stuttgart
 
rwy04lga
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:48 am

New York City is North America's largest city but only JetBlue is HQ'd there (I think. C'mon, I just woke up). All of the other big players are HQ'd elsewhere.
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Alsatian
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 9:15 am

Quoting detroitflyer (Thread starter):
Frankfurt is the 4th largest city in Germany

Right but FRA is also serving population living in Darmstadt, Wiesbaden, Mainz, Mannheim, Heidelberg, Koblenz, Würzburg, Bonn, Cologne, Karlsruhe, Stuttgart, Kaiserslautern, Saarbrucken, Strasbourg...
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ZRH
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 10:06 am

Quoting detroitflyer (Thread starter):

So, ive always wondered. Frankfurt is the 4th largest city in Germany. Why did LH decide to base themselves there? Could not they have got a lot more people by basing out of Berlin, Munich, Colonge or Berlin?

Also Berlin would have been the best considering it is furthest away from other large westen hubs and the largest city in Germany?

History! LH was not allowed to fly to Berlin until 1989 when the iron curtain fell. Till then only the four occupying forces were to fly to Berlin (US, GB, France and Soviet Union). In the times before 1989 PanAm flew the routes between Berlin and the Federal Republic of Germany and many other Western Countries as also to ZRH where I live. They had plenty of 727 based in Europe.
 
ZRH
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 10:08 am

Quoting captainmeeerkat (Reply 1):
all). Very difficult to base yourself in a divided city where freedom to move freely was almost impossible.

As I said in my post above: it was not "almost impossible". Is wasn't allowed for LH.
 
rwy04lga
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 10:08 am

Quoting ZRH (Reply 9):
1989 when the iron curtain fell

That's when it was lifted. It's the Berlin Wall that fell.
Just accept that some days, you're the pigeon, and other days the statue
 
ZRH
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 10:15 am

Quoting rwy04lga (Reply 11):
That's when it was lifted. It's the Berlin Wall that fell.

Ok, ok. That's a bit hairsplitting. Actually the the iron curtain was not "lifted". There was much pressure in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland and other countries that it made fall.
 
ordwaw
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 10:42 am

Quoting ZRH (Reply 9):
Till then only the four occupying forces were to fly to Berlin (US, GB, France and Soviet Union)

Also, around 1983-1984, every 2-3 months a domestic LOT AN-24 would fly to THF, hijacked by desperate people trying to flee to the West. If they succeded to land in West Berlin, they would then ask for a polytical asylum.

This got to the point that for quite some time, on every domestic flight within Poland, there were 2-3 special forces commandos in the cabin constantly monitoring the passengers.
 
na
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 10:58 am

1. Frankfurt is, roughly, in the middle of the country.
2. Its the center of one of the two most important business areas in Germany.
3. the Frankfurt region infrastructure and connectivity is very good.
There are no real alternatives in Germany for the location of the center of aviation. Berlin is located "in the middle of nowhere" in the East, Munich in the extreme South, Hamburg in very North and Cologne probably too far West.
 
rutankrd
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 11:03 am

Quoting detroitflyer (Thread starter):

So, ive always wondered. Frankfurt is the 4th largest city in Germany. Why did LH decide to base themselves there? Could not they have got a lot more people by basing out of Berlin, Munich, Colonge or Berlin?

Also Berlin would have been the best considering it is furthest away from other large westen hubs and the largest city in Germany?

You need to read your history post WW2 to understand why the FRG is as it is and the influence on the development of Frankfurt/Bonn/Dusseldorf/Hannover corridor added to some historically important industrial considerations - Coal/Steel etc....

Add the very fact that German states have a greater sense of independence from the Federal Government (Similar to the US in some ways) and quite unique within the EU.

Add the fact that Germany post WW2 was divided - NOT just Berlin between the
UK North Zone - centred around Hannover
US Zone - Centred on Frankfurt !
France- very small area cross border buffer
USSR - that became to quasi state of DDR.
It really is quite complex and insightful.

Lufthansa combined with Frankfurt as both transport and banking hub are a product of these geopolitical issues.
For 40 years the West German axis lines were North/South - Hamburg to Stuttgart with spur west to the French border.

Berlin was NOT part of this.

Fact is Berlin remains rather an island far to far east for most of the German populous - Statement of fact its just 50 miles from Poland and more than 150 miles from Hanover (nearest major - pre unification city)
 
ordwaw
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 11:37 am

Quoting rutankrd (Reply 15):
Fact is Berlin remains rather an island far to far east for most of the German populous - Statement of fact its just 50 miles from Poland and more than 150 miles from Hanover (nearest major - pre unification city)

Interesting ... Now it makes sense why the newly being built BER airport may steal more traffic from WAW than from MUC or FRA as it located closer to many western Polish cities than WAW.
 
PanHAM
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 11:46 am

Quoting ordwaw (Reply 13):
Also, around 1983-1984, every 2-3 months a domestic LOT AN-24 would fly to THF,

That's why. in these days, they spelled LOT "landed och Tempelhof" (lands also at Tempelhof)

Quoting rutankrd (Reply 15):
Add the fact that Germany post WW2 was divided - NOT just Berlin between the

That ended already in 1949, when the 1949 with the constitution of the parliament, the first free elected government and the independent judiciary, the 3 "west sectors" formed the federal reüpublic of Germany which received partial spovereignty in 1955. That partial sovereignty included the right to establish an airline under the German flag., Lufthansa nwas founded that year.

Long distance flights usually went from DUS, HAM and FRA to a lesser extend. FRA really took off in the 60s, read my post # 5

Only with the 4 + 2 negotiations and the resulting treaty signed in 1990, the Federal Republic of Germany becane a fully sovereign state.

By that time, FRA was long time established as the main hub for LH.

The reason for FRA is location, as said in post # 5, the airport is close to the demo- and geographic centre of Europe, not only Germany. Hence, it is the ideal place for a hub.
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C010T3
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 11:57 am

Quoting ordwaw (Reply 16):
Now it makes sense why the newly being built BER airport may steal more traffic from WAW than from MUC or FRA as it located closer to many western Polish cities than WAW.

Well, if that indeed happens, it would Berlin reconquering its catchment area. One of the reasons Berlin is having difficulty regaining its economic force is the fact it's missing the German territory lost to Poland.
 
PanHAM
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 12:18 pm

Quoting C010T3 (Reply 18):
Well, if that indeed happens, it would Berlin reconquering its catchment area. One of the reasons Berlin is having difficulty regaining its economic force is the fact it's missing the German territory lost to Poland.

Thanks to the European Union and the Schengen zone the hinterland is there again. But that hinterland never was really industrialized. Berlin was, but likely will never regain that strenght.

Fact is, traffic figures at BER gain almost twice the German average, but a lot of thzat is low yield traffic. Unlike their airports, BER is open for parties 24 hours seven days a week and that attracts young people from all over the world.

That is not much high yield traffic however and therefore really no good substance for a hub.

Besides, I say it again, Berlins location is too far from the centre.

In Germany, the cookie crumbles elsewhere, and that can be small places in areas between the big population centres.

Unlike France and the UK, Germany is polycentric.
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rutankrd
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 12:34 pm

Quoting C010T3 (Reply 18):
Well, if that indeed happens, it would Berlin reconquering its catchment area. One of the reasons Berlin is having difficulty regaining its economic force is the fact it's missing the German territory lost to Poland.

The Western creep of the Polish borders in and of itself is an interesting debate but for another forum i think !

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 17):
That ended already in 1949, when the 1949 with the constitution of the parliament

True the civil FRG constitutions date back to that time frame however the military control zones pretty much remained in situ under NATO and these certainly influenced the development of the FRG for those 40 odd years up until re-unification.

Hey FRA itself was a major USAF transportation base not so long ago.
 
rutankrd
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 12:46 pm

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 19):
Besides, I say it again, Berlins location is too far from the centre.

In Germany, the cookie crumbles elsewhere, and that can be small places in areas between the big population centres.

Unlike France and the UK, Germany is polycentric.

Thats the plain truth isn't it !

Germany is made up of a series of strong identifiable states (Old principalities and duchies) and hasn't had to deal with centralising forces of the UK (Single monarchy and parliament) or France (Napoleonic grand design) !
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 1:00 pm

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 5):

That left FRA as the logical choice, beeing at the cross roads for centuries. FRA had the first Autobahn crossing (A3 and A5) it has the largest rail terminal and, as logical as Chicago, the largest airport. It is the geographic location, combined with an immediate metropolitan aera of 5,6 million people, to which another 1,2 million come from the Mannheim/Ludwigshafen/Heidelberg area, for which it is also the closest airport. FRA is not only the center of the "Blue Banana" biut of Europe, both demographic and geographic.

Don´t forget that in 1945 Frankfurt was one of the few German airports equipped with a concrete runway. Most German airfields back then, both military and civilian, had grass runways.
Frankfurt Luftwaffe base was used to operate the Messerschmitt Me262 jet fighter, which needed a hard surface runway. The runway was built by female concentration camp prisoners from Ravensbrück, who were housed in a satellite camp in what today is the little forest between Frankfurt airport and the town Walldorf-Mörfelden.
After VE day, the Americans needed hard runways for their increasingly heavier transport aircaft (C-54, C-97 etc.) and used the existing former Luftwaffe airfield and later extened it to become their main airbase in occupied Germany (Rhein-Main-Airbase). Civilan airlines, like Pan Am, set up their own part on the airbase. When Western Germany regained her souvereignity to operate civilian aircraft again in 1956, Lufthansa was allowed to start a civilian operation using the now existing civilian facilities in FRA:

Jan
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Freshside3
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 1:21 pm

It's going to be a while to see what happens with Berlin. The new airport opening has been delayed due to the fact they didn't meet fire codes. Also, for those in Germany(that might know), just curious about the noise abatement situation in BER.......LH has stopped late night cargo flights due to the noise issues in FRA.........is BER better situated to for this to allow late night flying??
 
PanHAM
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 1:23 pm

Quoting rutankrd (Reply 20):
True the civil FRG constitutions date back to that time frame however the military control zones pretty much remained in situ under NATO and these certainly influenced the development of the FRG for those 40 odd years up until re-unification.

I explained that by this:

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 17):

Only with the 4 + 2 negotiations and the resulting treaty signed in 1990, the Federal Republic of Germany becane a fully sovereign state.
Quoting rutankrd (Reply 20):
Hey FRA itself was a major USAF transportation base not so long ago.
Quoting rutankrd (Reply 20):
Hey FRA itself was a major USAF transportation base not so long ago.

until Fraport bought out the USAF by financing a new runway and other things at Ramstein . Honestly, I miss the C-5s and the C-17 here.

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 22):
Lufthansa was allowed to start a civilian operation using the now existing civilian facilities in FRA:

[quote=MD11Engineer,reply=22]Lufthansa was allowed to start a civilian operation using the now existing civilian facilities in FRA:[/quote

Well, by then HAM,DUS;MUC etc had paved runways as well.
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rutankrd
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 1:30 pm

Quoting FreshSide3 (Reply 23):
LH has stopped late night cargo flights due to the noise issues in FRA.........is BER better situated to for this to allow late night flying??

No it isn't - Berlin is hopeless as a European cargo hub since most of the arriving and departing cargo is destined for the industries along the Ruhr, Rhine, French and Netherlands border area.

If they can't get into Frankfurt then its off to Hahn/Liege/Maastricht/Cologne/Luxembourg or even Amsterdam for full cargo flights!
 
rutankrd
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 1:38 pm

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 24):
I explained that by this:

We are not in disagreement !

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 24):
until Fraport bought out the USAF by financing a new runway and other things at Ramstein . Honestly, I miss the C-5s and the C-17 here.

You and me both.

At trip to the forests to spy those birds these days !
 
Freshside3
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 1:59 pm

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 5):
DUS had the leading edge over FRA in he 50s and early 60s, however, Lohausen Airport was too close to the city to be developed and the then state government of Northrhine Westphalia ruled that DUS became the "propeller airport" and CGN the "jet airport". No kidding.
Quoting captainmeeerkat (Reply 1):

Keep in mind that Bonn used to be the capital, and CGN airport was often referred to as "Cologne/Bonn".
 
PanHAM
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 2:17 pm

Quoting FreshSide3 (Reply 27):
Keep in mind that Bonn used to be the capital, and CGN airport was often referred to as "Cologne/Bonn".

It still is,the official airport for both Bonn and Cologne. Howeverm the traffic is at DUS, more than twice the passenger number than CGN has. The long distance flights DUS has could not be profitable at CGN. Many reasons, one is that it is too close to FRA. In my best years I drove FRA CGN in about 75 minutes.

CGN however is a big cargo hub, home of UPS and FX, who moved to CGN from FRA before the curfew came.

Quoting FreshSide3 (Reply 23):
LH has stopped late night cargo flights due to the noise issues in FRA.........is BER better situated to for this to allow late night flying??

BER has a night curfew as well, bit more generous than FRA but hopefess for cargo ops. Besides, LH could not operate their cargo fleet without the connectivity of the huge passenger fleet. That is essential, the key for success and the reason why cargo cannot be relocated, regardless if HHN or CGN or LEJ.
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EPA001
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 2:17 pm

Quoting rutankrd (Reply 25):
If they can't get into Frankfurt then its off to Hahn/Liege/Maastricht/Cologne/Luxembourg or even Amsterdam for full cargo flights!

Let's not forget Eindhoven airport which is currently growing quite spectacularly.  .

As to why LH has it's strongest base in FRA, that question has been sufficiently answered by multiple posters here. A better question might be this: why is LH still having her headquarters in Cologne? Why have they not moved it to FRA as well?
 
LOWS
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 2:27 pm

Quoting EPA001 (Reply 29):
why is LH still having her headquarters in Cologne? Why have they not moved it to FRA as well?

Because that would involve having to be in Frankfurt?
  

But seriously, why move? Cologne is not that far from Frankfurt. 45minutes or so with the ICE from the center of Cologne direct to FRA, or maybe a little longer with the car.
 
rwy04lga
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 2:31 pm

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 24):
until Fraport bought out the USAF by financing a new runway and other things at Ramstein . Honestly, I miss the C-5s and the C-17 here.

Reminds me of a joke I heard years ago. A 747 pulls off the runway and taxis past a C-5. Seeing the smaller 747, the C-5 CO asks 'Hey little buddy, what's your gross?' Not one to be bullied, the 747 captain responds 'About $200,000 a year, how about you? 
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PanHAM
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 2:42 pm

The operational base is at FRA, the CEO has an office at FRA and AFAIK a CGN office as well.
The technical base is at HAM. The top people are constantly travelling anyhow, when the currect CEO headed LX I think he commuted from FRA to ZRH.

Where is the benefit moving it all to a single place? LH planned the preparations for the new start with the "Buerau Bongers" in Cologne. It is the nucleus of the company.
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Quokkas
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 2:54 pm

The arguments for a base in FRA today are clear. But my memory isn't.   So I appeal to those who have a better memory to help out.

Lufthansa began flight operations on 1 April 1955. While the future airline was still named Luftag, the decision was made that Hamburg would be its base and work commenced on the construction of a maintenance base. When the first aircraft arrived, the maintenance and repair installations were ready for use. During LH's first years Hamburg was not only the main maintenance base, but also the main hub for international services.

We know that the Hamburg Senate had offered to build suitable facilities and provide them at an attractive rent and that the main competitor for the location of the base at the time was München. Perhaps Bavaria was not prepared to be as generous with the rent demanded, or the difference in climate and altitude may have had an impact on the ability to operate aircraft of the day most productively. At the time the advisory team led by Bongers estimated that München (1712 ft above mean sea level) would cost 2 million DM more than Hamburg (53 ft MSL).

But why wasn't FRA a contender at that time? From 1955 LH were able to fly passengers to FRA. Even before then passengers were flying to a number of destinations on other carriers. So what factors prevented Frankfurt from being the base for LH from the start?
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ZRH
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 5:05 pm

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 32):
The top people are constantly travelling anyhow, when the currect CEO headed LX I think he commuted from FRA to ZRH.

No I don't think so. Christoph Franz lived in Zurich and had a hard time to leave when he became LH CEO.
 
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TWA772LR
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 5:36 pm

In a way, this is kind of like saying "why isn't American airline X based in New York?"
The answer is, you have to follow the money. And if it aint broke, dont fix it.
Not every day we find light winds. What do we do in these situations? Fly.
 
PanHAM
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 6:01 pm

Quoting Quokkas (Reply 33):
Lufthansa began flight operations on 1 April 1955. While the future airline was still

One flight was operated HAM-MUC and the other MUC-HAM with a stop , not sure right now if that stop was at FRA or DUS. Not true that the intercont ser vices operated all from HAM, DUS was another main pint besides FRA.

The main technical base was and still is HAM.

Quoting Quokkas (Reply 33):
So what factors prevented Frankfurt from being the base for LH from the start?

have a look again at my post # 5
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Quokkas
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 6:04 pm

Quoting TWA772LR (Reply 35):
The answer is, you have to follow the money. And if it aint broke, dont fix it.

At its simplest, yes. However, it doesn't answer the question of how or why LH decided the money was at FRA rather than HAM, which was their first choice, let alone why they thought initially (at that stage unproved) the money was in HAM.

Following money involves several calculations, from costs of operating a particular base to revenues gained, number of potential passengers. In the instance of post-war Germany there possibly were other factors involved that were not reducible to "following the money."
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flyingturtle
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 6:05 pm

A more interesting question is why SWISS is owned by LH and headquartered in France...  


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ordwaw
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 6:16 pm

Quoting flyingturtle (Reply 38):
A more interesting question is why SWISS is owned by LH and headquartered in France...

Is it really?

According to wikipedia ...

Swiss is a subsidiary of the German airline Lufthansa, with headquarters at EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg near Basel, Switzerland, and an office at Zurich Airport in Kloten, Switzerland. The company's registered office is in Basel.
 
Rara
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 6:21 pm

Lots and lots of misconceptions in this thread! Back then, Germany was in shambles, had just lost the war, the future borders of the country were totally undecided, and world politics were crazy. LH's FRA hub wasn't the result of a meeting of a group of men in suits who said "alright, let's look at the facts and figures again.. where should we base our hub? I think Peter has prepared the evaluation results... okay, let's have a vote on it". The rise of FRA as an aviation centre was as much a result of random processes as of proper and rational planning. A lot of it is path dependency - once LH started growing and investing, one step led to another.

Let's not forget that this was a time in which the German capital (Bonn) was chosen simply because one man, Konrad Adenauer, favoured the city over Frankfurt! Political and economic decision-making was a lot less planned and rational than it is today.



Quoting PanHAM (Reply 5):
DUS had the leading edge over FRA in he 50s and early 60s, however, Lohausen Airport was too close to the city to be developed and the then state government of Northrhine Westphalia ruled that DUS became the "propeller airport" and CGN the "jet airport". No kidding.
That left FRA as the logical choice, beeing at the cross roads for centuries.

  


Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 22):
Don´t forget that in 1945 Frankfurt was one of the few German airports equipped with a concrete runway. Most German airfields back then, both military and civilian, had grass runways.


  


Quoting Quokkas (Reply 33):
But why wasn't FRA a contender at that time? From 1955 LH were able to fly passengers to FRA. Even before then passengers were flying to a number of destinations on other carriers. So what factors prevented Frankfurt from being the base for LH from the start?

Size. Munich and Hamburg were large and important cities. Frankfurt, on the other hand, had always been regarded as provincial in the Weimar Republic and in the Third Reich. It was only the demise of Berlin that allowed Frankfurt to become the economic and financial powerhouse that it is today.


One interesting question is: if it hadn't been for Hitler and the war, where would LH be based today? My guess is Berlin, with a second strong hub in the Rhineland somewhere, maybe DUS.
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YULWinterSkies
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 6:34 pm

Quoting flyingturtle (Reply 38):
A more interesting question is why SWISS is owned by LH and headquartered in France...


Could it be because Switzerland is neither in the eurozone nor the EU?
Also, Zurich is among the world's most expensive cities, Geneva not quite far behind.
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Quokkas
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 6:40 pm

Hi PanHAM and thank you for taking the time to respond. I appreciate your helping with my understanding of the establishment, growth and development of LH.  
Quoting PanHAM (Reply 36):
Not true that the intercont services operated all from HAM

That was not I claim I made, rather that HAM was the main hub at the time, which, given that is where initial flights commenced from, is not surprising.

I saw your response #5 and was fascinated that a decision was made regarding props at one port and jets at another. Thank you for that valuable insight. I must admit I was not aware of that. Can I assume that by then Bonger was no longer involved (or his views were discounted) as I would be surprised that he would support a view unless there was a difference in runway lengths or strengths. My impression was that he was concerned with costs, efficiencies and optimisation of services.

While DUS may have had an advantage at that time over FRA, I am still confused as to why that was the case, other than it being closer to the Ruhr Gebiet. Sure, there is a good hinterland but was that enough? Was the infrastructure better? Was Hessen less willing to invest? Were the Americans unwilling to co-operate ( a factor that I doubt)?

And the question still remains, why HAM and not FRA. OK, you have said that DUS was ahead of FRA in the 1950s and 1960s, so I guess I could ask, why HAM and not DUS?

Now we know that FRA grew to become more significant at a later date, due its geographic location at the centre of what was the the BRD and, as you point out, Europe but why did this not occur earlier? Were the decisions purely economic or were there also political considerations. After all the location of Frankfurt (city) hasn't changed for a long time.

[Edited 2012-12-15 10:43:50]
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CiC
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 6:43 pm

Guys, you all forget a very important fact- you're all talking about postwar time...

In the late 30ies Berlin became one of the world's greatest hubs, and some of the longest routes of the world were connected to Berlin... e.g. the old pre-war Lufthansa's longest scheduled flight started at THF and ended @ BKK (not a joke!). But like the Pan Am flights from New York to London at that time they only operated a few flights during summer 1939.

Germany made route prooving flights from Berlin (I'm not sure if out of THF, maybe out of Staaken or another airfield around Berlin) to New York- the famous flight of the FW200 Condor D-ACON and some time later the flight to Tokyo (ended with a plane loss on approach to Manila...).

Before WW2 break out in Europe Tempelhof Airport was THE largest single city airport in the world, according several books I have even bigger than New York. All major European Airlines flew to THF...

This has changed after WW2...

But last but not least: The heart of the German Zeppelin operations was Frankfurt   The Zeppelins rode to South America and the U.S. from Frankfurt!

FYI: As far as I know KLM operated their flights to Jakarta (Batavia at that time) via Leipzig...
 
flyingturtle
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 6:46 pm

Quoting ordwaw (Reply 39):

It ran like this:

- Swissair was headquartered at Balsberg/Kloten near Zurich. Clearly on Swiss territory.
- Crossair was headquartered at the BSL airport, which is on French territory. Howewer, there is a customs-free road connecting Basel (the city) with BSL.
- Swissair went bankrupt, the smaller Crossair swallowed Swissair, renamed itself SWISS.
- SWISS is then sold to Lufthansa. The headquarters of SWISS is still at BSL.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EuroAirport_Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg :



SWISS headquarters at BSL



And Google Maps: http://goo.gl/maps/ijs5q


David

[Edited 2012-12-15 10:51:42]
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PanHAM
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 6:55 pm

Quoting Quokkas (Reply 42):

That was not I claim I made, rather that

I think the term "hub" did not even exoist at that time, at least not in relation toi aviation. Flying was for a few people only, pleasure flying however started in the times of the Wirtschaftswunder and throughout the years, DUS bevcame the main airport for charter flights. .

Quoting Quokkas (Reply 42):
Can I assume that by then Bonger was no longer involved (or his views were discounted) as I would be surprised that he would su

Bongérs was not involved in that, I assume. That decision was political, and about noise. DUS was and still is close to the city whereas CHGN at least then was in relativley unpopulated spaces. The daily 707 MUC-CGN-JFK which was later routed viaq HAM was not welcomed at DUS. Understandable at 140 dba. I wrote that a couple of times, from my office at HAM I had the pleasure to watch and hear the 707-430 what it usually was, taking off at noon. I had to close any phone call I just made. 400 or 500 meter distance to the threshold at HAM.

Which cities became part of the cake was political. That is the best explanation I can give. Typical for a federation of states.

FRA made it simply by location. Like any Mcdees or Burger King, location is the most important and there are few locations in Europe that beat FRA. DXB has, in its region, a similar advantage, ORD as well. Or take SIN.

These are natural choice places

Quoting Quokkas (Reply 42):
After all the location of Frankfurt (city) hasn't changed for a long time.

like I said, it has been a cross roads since centuries, may be even longer.
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Quokkas
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:16 pm

Quoting Rara (Reply 40):
Size. Munich and Hamburg were large and important cities.

Thanks for the additional insight. You response appeared as I was still composing a response to Pan HAM.

I appreciate politics was central to the question. At that time it could not have been any different despite eight years having elapsed between the fall of Berlin, and with it the NSDAP, and the initial discussion of forming an national airline in the three western sectors.

Quoting CiC (Reply 43):
The heart of the German Zeppelin operations was Frankfurt

Oddly enough my mother, despite her Alzheimer's, recalls Zeppelins flying over her house on its way to HAM before WW2.

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 45):
I think the term "hub" did not even exist at that time

True enough but whatever term is used the fact was that initially (and in the period to which I referred) HAM was the main place from which international flights were commenced. Over time that changed and it is not my intention to pretend otherwise. So HAM was the main base was surely due to the willingness of one State to offer more than others and not simply due the population base or wider catchment area. I know that in the early 1950s Helmut Schmidt (as a Hamburg Senator) was very enthusiastic in attracting LH to HAM rather than elsewhere.

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 45):
FRA made it simply by location.

Which at the end of the day it should be. Whatever serves the growth of an airline must be determined by where the passengers are coming from, where they want to go, how much they can be reasonably expected to pay and how much can be made to not only cover costs but provide a return to the investors. As a shareholder you might be wondering when you can expect a decent return. My sympathies and once more, thank you for your responses. I do appreciate it as I learn something new all the time.  
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PHX Flyer
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 8:00 pm

Quoting detroitflyer (Thread starter):
So, ive always wondered. Frankfurt is the 4th largest city in Germany. Why did LH decide to base themselves there?

Frankfurt is not the fourth-largest city in Germany, Cologne is. Frankfurt is a distant #7.

The decision to base Lufthansa ops in Frankfurt was made because it was the first airport in Germany that was re-opened for civilian flights after World War II. Besides, Cologne was almost completely destroyed in the air raids of 1944/45. Before the war, Cologne was actually Germany was second-largest airport in terms of traffic. When Germany got back into business of passenger air travel in 1953 with the establishment of LUFTAG (the predecessor of Lufthansa III), there was still a lot of doubt as to whether Cologne would ever make an economic recovery. So, operations was set up in Frankfurt, and FRA has since remained ahead of the growth curve.
 
Quokkas
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 8:26 pm

Quoting PHX Flyer (Reply 47):
it was the first airport in Germany that was re-opened for civilian flights after World War II.

While LH had flights to FRA as early as 1955, it was not based there. As has been already established, LH's first active base and the location of its maintenance base was in at HAM - see reply #33 above. FRA became the major hub that it is today some time later.
“Not to laugh, not to cry, not to hate, but understand.” Spinoza
 
ATL
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RE: Why Is LH Based In FRA?

Sat Dec 15, 2012 8:52 pm

Just look at the population density of Germany:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...ns/6/6e/Pop_density_of_Germany.png

See how isolated Berlin is?

and GDP of respective german states:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_German_states_by_GDP

Berlin is culturally important, as the capital of germany, and a very important city in history. But economically and population wise, it's a whole different game

Lufthansa went to the money, and the people lol

I'm sure the cold war and the separation of east and west berlin only helped LH to stay based in FRA

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