Press release

Published: 17 June 2021, 11:00 AM

More long-haul connections for more growth in the metropolitan region

Here you can find the press release of the Berlin Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IHK Berlin) on the press conference on the expansion of long-haul connections for the metropolitan region on 17 June 2021.

Even before the coronavirus crisis, the Berlin-Brandenburg metropolitan region was only in 22nd place in an international comparison with seven long-haul connections (between Budapest and Kiev). Currently, there is only one direct long-haul connection. However, direct intercontinental flights are an important building block for economic growth after the crisis and the internationalisation of the economy in the metropolitan region. For example, an additional long-haul connection can result in up to 250 additional company relationships. Positive effects also result from better networking with the target destinations as well as expected higher direct investments in Berlin. So far, however, interested providers lack flight rights for Berlin. The partners of the initiative for more long-haul routes are therefore calling on politicians to grant more flight rights so that the Berlin-Brandenburg metropolitan region does not fall even further behind the international competition for business locations, especially in light of the emerging recovery in air traffic.

The establishment of new long-haul connections is not only a business decision, but also a (federal) political decision: Air traffic relations between states are predominantly regulated by bilateral agreements. Among other things, they determine which airports are served and how often. Long-haul flights demonstrably strengthen the economic basis of an economic region. They are a prerequisite for the settlement of internationally oriented companies with high added value and well-paid jobs. That is why chambers, associations and institutions in Berlin and Brandenburg launched an initiative for more long-haul connections in 2018 to demand that federal politicians open up the market for more airlines at BER. 

I.E. Hafsa Al Ulama, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates: "The cornerstone of the excellent bilateral relationship between the UAE and Germany is connectivity. Our countries have had a strategic partnership since 2004 and our political, economic, social and cultural cooperation is continuously growing. This growth can only be sustained by directly connecting the German capital with the UAE and to the world through the UAE's strategic aviation hubs in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The benefits of such a direct connection are immensely positive and are paramount for the sincere friendship of the UAE and Germany."

Jan Eder, Chief Executive, IHK Berlin: "The best time to act is now. So close to the summer holidays, the falling incidences and the advancing vaccination campaign are boosting travel enormously, so that the debate on expanding long-haul connections must also be revived. Berlin is the capital of Europe's largest and most important economy and also its scientific hotspot. Consequently, it is essential that business travellers, politicians, diplomats, scientists and tourists have access to a broad network of long-haul connections that is internationally comparable with other capitals such as Paris or London – only this will do justice to the capital region. For a long time now, several international airlines have shown great interest in including BER as a destination in their services. New flight rights must therefore be negotiated at the political level as quickly as possible so that the Berlin-Brandenburg metropolitan region does not lose touch with the world's best. We must not oversleep the new start in the post-coronavirus era!" 

Burkhard Kieker, Managing Director, visitBerlin: "International aviation must reposition itself due to the pandemic. This is a great opportunity for Berlin and BER to acquire new flight connections for the capital region with the long-haul initiative. When approaching selected destinations and airlines, we will continue to rely on close cooperation within the broad-based initiative. Berlin is the capital of Europe's largest and strongest economy and we are delighted about Emirates Airline's interest in connecting the economically strong Dubai with Berlin in the future."

Adnan Kazim, Chief Commercial Officer, Emirates Airline: "Emirates strongly believes that Berlin has great potential to become a successful destination for long-haul flights. We remain keen to offer flights from Dubai to Berlin Brandenburg Airport as soon as possible and, subject to approvals from the German authorities, to add Berlin to our route network alongside our existing four German departure airports. An Emirates flight connection would provide more opportunities for tourism and trade, as well as direct access for tourists and business travellers from all over the world and cargo capacity for the transport of time-critical exports and imports. Previous studies have convincingly demonstrated how a daily Emirates flight would stimulate the labour market and tourism in Berlin and Brandenburg. Emirates has been flying to Germany for almost 35 years and we want to continue to support tourism and the local economy in this market. With the opening of the new airport, we believe that now is an ideal time for Berlin and Brandenburg to realise significant economic and job-creating opportunities through additional long-haul flights."

Engelbert Lütke Daldrup, CEO of Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH: "Germany needs more international airports with direct intercontinental connections. With its modern infrastructure and comfortable 360,000 square metre terminal, Berlin Brandenburg Willy Brandt Airport is ideally positioned to offer significantly more long-haul connections. People from all over the world want to fly directly to the capital region and not take detours of thousands of kilometres. This is not only inconvenient and uneconomical, but also unecological."

Marcus Tolle, Chief Executive of the Cottbus Chamber of Commerce and Industry, for the State Association of the Brandenburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry: "For a positive economic development after the pandemic, the Brandenburg economy needs more direct intercontinental connections at BER Airport – both from Deutsche Lufthansa and from the established European and international airlines. This is the only way to put the capital region Berlin-Brandenburg at the forefront in Germany and Europe and to remove the chocks for the highly dynamic development in the surrounding area. Planning and construction are taking place here like it has not for decades, as shown by the large-scale settlements of TESLA in Grünheide and the European headquarters of the battery producer Microvast in Ludwigsfelde. Since Brandenburg's economy is also on the road to recovery, it is now important to set the course for the future for more value creation and well-paid jobs in knowledge-intensive industrial and service companies. The opportunities for the settlement of high-tech companies are there thanks to modern infrastructure, urban proximity, available skilled labour, close networking between business and science and good transport connections with an international airport. What is missing are attractive long-haul connections. Here, we need the commitment of major airlines to be able to continue to lobby politicians in a joint alliance for the rapid creation of the appropriate legal framework conditions."

Dieter Hütte, Managing Director of TMB Tourismus-Marketing Brandenburg: "Connecting Berlin-Brandenburg Airport to the long-haul network is of great importance for the international economy in Brandenburg as well as the research and science landscape of our region. Business tourism will then benefit from this, because it will certainly also increase the number of overnight stays as well as meetings and congresses." Christian Amsinck, Chief Executive of the Berlin-Brandenburg Business Associations (UVB): "The global economy is recovering noticeably, demand is picking up considerably. These are good conditions for Berlin and Brandenburg to get back on track for growth. In addition, the region is developing into one of the most important automotive locations in Europe, and the digital economy is expanding nowhere as fast as here. Berlin must also move back into the international spotlight as a trade fair and congress location. This would mean impulses for many other important industries in the city. That is why additional long-haul flights to BER are an important prerequisite for the new start. The capital needs a bridge to other continents to be able to compete on an equal footing with metropolises like London or Paris."

Christian Hoßbach, Chairman of the DGB Berlin-Brandenburg: "BER 'Willy Brandt' Airport is on its way to becoming the largest economic enterprise in the capital region. More long-haul flights to and from Berlin are a relevant factor for economic growth in Berlin, Brandenburg and beyond. At the same time, more intensive flight connections will provide a tailwind for good jobs. Because they offer opportunities for well-paid and secure jobs. Regular connections to the world make the infrastructure in eastern Germany strong. Lusatia, where an enormous structural change will take place in the coming years, would also benefit significantly."

Christian Andresen, President, Hotel- und Gaststättenverband Berlin e. V: "For the metropolitan region and BER Airport, new long-haul connections are even more important now than before the crisis! There needs to be a spirit of optimism. International trade fair and congress visitors as well as tourists are easier to convince to visit our great city if it can be served directly. The new BER offers new opportunities for the capital – it must be a matter of course that Berlin can be approached not only via hub airports.

Dr Stefan Franzke, Managing Director, Berlin Partner: "I understand that, with a bird's eye view, people have focused on Frankfurt/Main and Munich in the past. But I do not understand why the federal government is not moving full speed ahead to build a long-haul hub for its capital city. We urgently need one. 70 percent of non-European passengers coming to Frankfurt before the pandemic want to go to Berlin. This often unnecessary diversion is questionable – all the more so in terms of the environment, but also when it comes to settlement talks with international companies."“

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