In the region between the mouth of the Weser and the mouth of the Elbe, Nordholz Air Base, in Germany, once a purely military airfield, has taken an unexpected turn in its aviation journey.
Home to Bundeswehr’s Naval Aviation Squadrons 3 and 5, the airfield’s infrastructure caught the attention of local and regional authorities in 2002, sparking dreams of vibrant civil flight operations.
The ambitious vision was to transform Nordholz into the Cuxhaven/Nordholz sea airport, serving as a hub for both freight and passenger charters in northern Germany. The addition of a 40-hectare industrial park was anticipated to boost the airport’s capabilities.
However, the dream of a bustling traffic hub turned into a financial setback, resulting in significant losses borne by taxpayers.
Adding to the challenges, the Lüneburg Higher Administrative Court declared last May that the Sea Airport, identified with the IATA code FCN, lacked the necessary permit. Generally, airfields in operation before December 31, 1958, are considered approved, but Nordholz Air Base opened its doors in 1959.
Despite the ongoing legal disputes, Cuxhaven/Nordholz sea airport has recently celebrated a small victory. Starting from September 2017, Germania Airlines has been operating a weekly flight from Germany’s smallest commercial airport to Palma de Mallorca.
The airline uses an Airbus A319 with a capacity of 150 seats for this route. Thomas Lötsch, the managing director of the airport operating company, expressed his satisfaction, stating: “We are very pleased that Germania recognises our potential and will use Nordholz as a landing site,” while emphasising that no subsidies were involved.
Currently, the Cuxhaven/Nordholz Airport boasts only one regular airline, the Ostfriesische Flugdienst (OFD), which initiated most of its up to ten daily connections to Helgoland from Nordholz since the end of February. Previously, OFD operated from Bremerhaven-Luneort Airport, which was permanently closed at the end of February.
Germania Airlines has hinted at the possibility of expanding its services from Nordholz if the initial venture to Palma de Mallorca proves successful.