Klagenfurt Airport, operated by Kärntner Flughafenbetriebsgesellschaft, has in recent years not been able to generate a positive result from its sole source of income: revenue from flight operations. Back in 2014, Roland Berger noted in its final report for the ‘Project Audit for the Kärnten Airport Investment Programme’ that regional airports with a volume of fewer than 1 million passengers can only achieve financially positive operations when all stakeholders in the local context create appropriate conditions and when additional options for usage have been utilised.
The result of this is that only an expansion to form an Aviation City will ensure profitability in the future and provide long-term security for the region surrounding the airport. The objective is to develop Europe’s first smart green-transport hub.
The airport’s location and potential for development provide it with competitive advantages:
- Klagenfurt Airport has high outbound demand for relevant destinations, whilst the companies based in its catchment area have extensive logistical needs.
- There is no comparable airport in Austria that can ensure intermodal integration with railways, roads and inland/dry ports alongside flight operations.
- Aviation City will have its own grid-independent, carbon-neutral energy supply thanks to its own solar farm. The electricity from this facility will also be used to produce hydrogen, in addition to serving internal energy needs.
- Positioning directly within the airport’s civil operations zone lets companies take advantage of unique, high-value conditions for constructing a research node for new types of drive systems or unmanned aviation (e.g. drones) in connection with the high availability of space and direct access to the airport’s secure zone.
The transformation into a profitable transport and logistics hub can only be successful when each element has been realised. These elements are unlikely to be profitable individually, as the concept is based on the elements together producing symbiotic benefits.
The airport’s profitability will increase dramatically due to the generation of additional fields of business. Its dependence on the volatile aviation sector, magnified by the Covid-19 pandemic, will reduce simultaneously. The trend is currently heading towards sustainable, environmentally friendly solutions, especially after the pandemic. Furthermore, there is a high demand for intermodal options and comprehensive transport and logistics services.
The Klagenfurt region has a broad catchment and tourism- and logistics-based demand, making it geographically well positioned to serve client needs and build on new, innovative ones. The aim is to use these qualities for a long-term reduction of the airport’s dependence on non-influenceable factors in the aviation sector.
FIVE ELEMENTS OF AVIATIONCITY
- Zero-emissions transport and logistics with alternative, decarbonised drive systems, operating as one of the first carbon-neutral airports in Europe.
- Grid-independent, renewable/carbonneutral supply of hydrogen energy and synthetic fuels in the form of a dedicated, high-performance solar farm.
- Use of drones and modern modes of transport for cargo and passenger transport.
- Formation of a research and technology node, benefiting from the conditions and opportunities of an international commercial airport.
- Intermodal integration results in unique, intelligent connectivity between carriers (road, rail and air).
- The phenomenally short distances that are made possible through the location of all elements at one campus represent a unique selling point (USP).
INCREASING REGION’S APPEAL
Aviation City will enable the city of Klagenfurt and the state of Carinthia to position themselves in an economically strong way against the other states in the Republic of Austria.
The environmental focus with grid-independent power supply and sustainable hydrogen production will be another pull factor for the region.
The optimised and new trimodal transport integration will strengthen Carinthia’s position as a European logistics hub.
The region’s economy will be given a boost thanks to the increased economic depth that companies will enjoy. There will be indirect effects strengthening Carinthia as a location for industry based on the additional suppliers moving to the region.
The economic growth from Aviation City offers increased tax revenue for the state of Carinthia and city of Klagenfurt.
CREATION OF FUTURE-PROOF JOBS
In its final stage of expansion, Aviation City will create roughly 1,500 new jobs in a wide variety of fields.
Further jobs will be created through the relocation of companies all along the value chain.
The jobs will be of high quality and characterised by a strong focus on technology and diverse duties.