For years, the Emirates connection from Hamburg to Dubai has been the only long-haul route operated from Hamburg’s airport. However, the airport hopes this will change in the future as they aim to expand their horizons.
Revealing the plans for the future
In a recent gathering of the Aviation Press Club, Gesa Zaremba, the Head of Airline & Traffic Development in Fuhlsbüttel, revealed that their top markets for new long-haul destinations include the United States, Canada, China, and Thailand. As the person accountable for acquiring new airlines, Zaremba’s statement indicates that the growth of Hamburg’s airport is well underway, steadily working towards providing their customers with a more diverse and global selection of travel options.
Zaremba revealed that they are currently in discussions with various Asian airlines as they perceive the immense potential held in these emerging markets. He particularly emphasized the interest in China and Thailand. However, Zaremba also acknowledged the challenges that lay ahead, especially considering the fact that China had only recently opened up after persistently following a strict zero-COVID policy. Owing to this prolonged closure, the Chinese market is in need of significant recovery before reaching its full potential. A similar trend is observed in Thailand, another market with tremendous promise.
Regardless of these opportunities, other obstacles loom in the horizon, among them the presence of state-backed airlines such as Emirates and Qatar Airways, who dominate the long-haul market towards the East. With their strong foothold in the transitory hubs of Dubai and Qatar, these carriers pose considerable competition to other airlines, making it rather challenging for them to successfully establish and maintain profitable direct connections in these markets.
Why New York?
When looking across the Atlantic for future opportunities, it is evident that the potential growth for long-haul flights to destinations such as New York is immense. Analyzing passenger streams has revealed that a significant number of travelers are currently transiting through Frankfurt, London, or Amsterdam to reach the “Big Apple”.
According to Zaremba, New York holds the greatest potential among possible long-haul connections. However, since October 2018, direct flights from Hamburg Airport to the United States have been absent from the map. United Airlines discontinued its route from New York-Newark to Fuhlsbüttel at that time, as the financial performance no longer met the expectations. Looking forward, the airport aims to tap into this untapped demand and capitalize on the promise of potential long-haul routes to the bustling metropolis of New York.
A new hope: The A321XLR
Despite facing challenging times, the airport is optimistic about the revival of this route, thanks to Airbus’ new game-changer: the A321XLR. With its additional fuel tank in the cargo hold, the aircraft is capable of flying long distances, making it perfect for this service. The jet is expected to be delivered for the first time in about a year.
The excitement is set to peak in the summer of 2025, according to Zaremba. In just over two years, the first of these state-of-the-art planes will be incorporated into airline fleets, and the carriers will make decisions on their deployment. As for the impact this will have on Hamburg, Zaremba said, “We will have to wait and see.”
New York is waiting for you
Can’t wait to travel to the “Big Apple”? If you aim to start your journey in Hamburg, you’ll have to wait a bit longer. But from summer 2025 you might be lucky and able to book your direct flight from Hamburg airport to New York.
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