German Airport Cooperation in Europe

German Airport Cooperation in Europe


P Meincke, DLR, DE


The study elucidates the facets of German airport cooperation. Furthermore, the different forms of airport cooperation were subject to dimensioning and compared by applying several cooperation criteria.


In theory and practice an increasing competition is supposed to boost the number and signifi-cance of cooperation. There are various forms of cooperations between companies aiming to enhance their own competitive capacity.

More frequently, airport operators too adopt this concept. This reveals the intensified interest of this branch in cooperation and the subsequently growing number of cooperations between airport operators. To the public the airport operators mainly state reasons like cost reduction, enhancement of efficiency as well as upgrading of performance and competitive capacity of the partner airports by exchange of experience and know-how-transfer. The ranges of cooperation are purchasing, technology, data management, ground traffic services, personnel matters, safety and security. Some forms of airport cooperations are briefly described in this study.

The present study is meant to define the significance of cooperations and to allow comparison between market and hierarchy processes by means of several criteria (mutual dependence (lordship-relation), volume of cooperation (like intensity of the partners? communication requirements), complexity (like number and inter-dependence of operational functions to be assumed by cooperation partners), cooperation yield (individual or shared between the coop-eration partners, thus to be pooled according to a real cooperation), value (e.g. contributions to achieve the business objectives), administering level (e.g. the extent of contractual matters? settlement), term (long-term cooperation normally comprises more cooperative elements) selected according to an interdependence profile by TRÖNDLE.

The study elucidates the facets of German airport cooperation. The study demonstrates that it is common practice for airport operators to choose cooperation with other airports as a busi-ness-strategic tool, in order to be able to successfully meet the requirements of competition. Furthermore, it revealed that cooperation between airports without legally recognised corpora-tion is still quite common and the collaboration is based on various cooperative initiatives, which are either politically or economically motivated. Furthermore, the different forms of airport cooperation were subject to dimensioning and thus analysed in detail. Thereto, se-lected common airport co-operative formations were evaluated and compared by applying several cooperation criteria. It revealed a high cooperative solidarity at least for the coopera-tion within airport systems, in a Holding or in a Joint Venture. For neighbour airports in a megalopolis, e.g. traffic shifting of airport systems (due to European law) can be the most advantageous of all cooperative formations. When cooperating within a Holding and a Joint Venture, examples proved that co-operative solidarity can be quite stable even without the legal support given by traffic shifting of an Airport System. Whereas, in a Holding a legally recognised corporation is mandatory, the Joint Venture suits the need for close cooperation between potential co-solicitors without shareholding. From practice it could be seen that co-operation between several airports, forming a network and managed by a moderate coordina-tor, can be advantageous and be preferred to an Airport Alliance or even an Airport Group.

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Association for European Transport