Airports with 5-12 Million passengers per year
Germany´s five largest airports are spread quite evenly over the whole country and help more than 150 million travelers to reach their destinations (Frankfurt, Munich, Düsseldorf, Berlin-Tegel, Hamburg). Densely populated and federal as Germany is, it has also plenty of smaller airports with often special regional importance. This is true particularly for medium-sized airports with a passenger volume between five and twelve million per year: Cologne-Bonn Airport (CGN), Berlin-Schönefeld Airport (SXF), Stuttgart Airport (SCN) and Hannover-Langenhagen Airport (HAJ).
Berlin-Schönefeld Airport (SXF) played and still plays a special role in this list. Before the German reunification, it was used as the socialist GDRs main airport in the eastern part of Berlin. It serves roughly twelve million passengers per year which appears small to its counterpart on the western side of town. However, its location will soon become one of Germany´s main hubs once the new and so far unfinished Airport Berlin-Brandenburg Airport (BER) opens its gates. Its facilities with a capacity for 40 million yearly passengers are located right across the old runway of Airport Berlin-Schönefeld Airport (SXF).
Another very historic airport of medium size is Cologne-Bonn Airport (CGN), near former West Germany´s capital Bonn. Despite being located close to the huge Düsseldorf Airport (DUS), more than 12 million passengers use it every year. But its centric spot in a metropolitan area consisting of several major cities (Cologne, Leverkusen, Bergisch-Gladbach, Bonn), makes it the preferred choice for many travelers. In the past, it was used as the main airport for government travel and also hosts a military air base with an own runway and about 6000 employees that are working there.
Stuttgart Airport (SCN) and Hannover-Langenhagen Airport (HAJ) also play important roles in their parts of the country. Stuttgart Airport (SCN) covers the whole southwest of Germany until the borders. Hannover-Langenhagen Airport (HAJ) is the preferred airport for many that live in a big area in Germany´s north between the Rhine-Ruhr Regions, Bremen, Hamburg, Berlin, and Frankfurt.
Cologne / Bonn Airport (CGN) - Passengers 2016: 11.900.000
Berlin-Schönefeld Airport (SXF) - Passengers 2016: 11.652.922
Stuttgart Airport (SCN) - Passengers 2016: 10.640.610
Hannover-Langenhagen Airport (HAJ) - Passengers 2016: 5.408.814
Nürnberg Airport (BRE) - Passengers 2016: 3.484.622
Bremen Airport (BRE) - Passengers 2016: 2.573.501
Frankfurt Hahn Airport (HHN) - Passengers 2016: 2.513.107
Leipzig / Halle Airport (LEJ) - Passengers 2016: 2.192.145
Dortmund Airport (DTM) - Passengers 2016: 1.918.843
Niederrhein Airport (NRN) - Passengers 2016: 1.854.108
Dresden Airport (DRS) - Passengers 2016: 1.667.880
Airports with 1-5 Million passengers per year
In the category below five million passengers, more airports of mainly regional importance can be found: Nürnberg Airport (NUE), Bremen Airport (BRE), Frankfurt-Hahn Airport (HHN), Leipzig / Halle Airport (LEJ), Dortmund Airport (DTM), Niederrhein Airport (NRN) and Dresden Airport (DRS).
Although all of those airports are located in metropolitan areas with large populations, they suffer a bit from their geographic position which either results in strong competition with other airports or less densely populated areas in between. Bremen Airport (BRE) is too close to Hamburg Airport, Frankfurt-Hahn Airport (HHN) to Frankfurt Airport, and Dortmund Airport (DTM) to Düsseldorf Airport (DUS) – which are all major German hubs.
Airport Nürnberg (NBG) is only interesting for those not living more than an hour away by car as it cannot be reached well by public transport. The rest of the people go directly either to Frankfurt Airport (FRA) in the north or Munich Airport (MUC) in the south, which as Germany´s two largest airports offer great and economic connections.
Leipzig / Halle Airport (LEJ) and Dresden Airport (DRS) face a different problem. They are both quite close to each other, impeding strong growth and although the area is quite densely populated, it´s more kind of an island population-wise. Dresden Airport (DRS) is located in a corner of the country which makes it difficult to reach. And Leipzig / Halle Airport (LEJ) cannot easily attract people from the west due to bad connections and historic reasons. The former GDRs borders were not far away.
German Airports with less than a Million passengers per year
These are mainly city airports with local importance. Memmingen Airport (EDJA) is the biggest one in this category with one million passengers, followed by Münster / Osnabrück Airport (EDGG) with about 800.000.
Memmingen, a city west of Munich and close to the Alps Mountains, got some strategic importance as a military airfield which the Nazi´s placed there before World War II. After 1945 its use as a military base continued until 2004 when it was transformed into a civil airport.
Münster / Osnabrück Airport (EDGG) can benefit from its proximity to the Rhine-Ruhr Region and partly also the Netherlands where some of its passengers are coming from. But as Airport Dortmund and another small Airport in Paderborn / Lippstadt (PAD) is close, the potential is quite limited. They had a quite good year in 2000 with 1,8 million passengers but numbers then dwindled continuously to the present level of just the half.
The mentioned Paderborn / Lippstadt Airport (PAD) doesn´t do well either. Passenger numbers went down from 1,3 million in 2005 to now just 700.000 in 2016. This airport also competes with Dortmund and at the same time with the quite near Düsseldorf Airport (DÜS).