Günther Hackeschmidt (age 63, married, 2 grown chidren) is not a superstitious man. Oh, he had heard the talk around town of some supposed „Airport curse“ hovering over his city. A curse that ripped havoc at the capitals „new“ airport leading to its construction lasting over decades. When it opened at last, the airport still couldn’t meet the cities needs. And then there came the pandemic on top.
A Curse! Ha! It is all bollocks is what he thought. Its incompetence its what it is! He has never run an airport or even worked at one, but he was sure that with his prussian pragmatism and organization skills he would be able to whip himself a nice big, well organized airport in a jippie. An airport that is worthy of his city and is sure to win the airport of the year award.
The airport authorities were quite amused by his proposal to construct a new airport. Especially the part about him not wanting to employ any construction firms and such. Those fools are the main reason why previous construction took so long, stated Herr Hackeschmidt. Out of curiosity the airport authorities decided to give this nimwitt a chance. To make things interesting they gave him an impossibly small amount of money to start with and decided to direct all emergancies as soon as possible in his direction.
After the commotion with the last airport, they were not keen on getting in another scandal though, so they talled him that they wll not be oficially registering his achievments. A pitty, thought Herr Hackeschmidt, but he wanted to build the airport for his personal satisfaction and eventually he will prove them wrong. He called it Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg (BER) unlike that that recently built catastrophy BBQ (Berlin Barbeque Airport).
So, he bought himself the book „How to build an airport from scracth for dummies“ and rolled up his sleeves.
He showed up at work at 8:00 o’clock on his first day with a plan. He would start small, only GA planes. He laid down ramps, a runway and taxiways, all grass based as they are cheeper to build. All of a sudden as if out of nowhere the ramps popped up.
But Herr Hackeschmidt is no fool. He knows that in the longrun they are massively expensive due to thier large upkeep costs and need for frequent maintenance. He took his first small loan and upgraded the ramps to asphalt, which to his surprise turned out to be cheeper then putting asphaltramps from the start. He also built an Avgas 100LL fueldepot, signed a contract with Avifuel, bought a fueltruck and started offering fueling services right away.
The GA Planes started rolling in „wie warme semmeln“ (like hot buns) as Herr Hackeschmidt always says.
Now running an airport all by yourself is exhausting. He employed a CFO, COO and two administraters. Not the brightest stars, maybe, but modest and content with what little Herr Hackeschmidt could spare. A nice little staffroom with facilities was built for them.
He ordered his CFO to increase the prices for the airports services. After all he has loans to repay and needs to make a profit.
The airport authorities insisted on him getting a commercial licence as soon as possible, but Herr Hackeschmidt took a different path. He decided to research structural engeneering first. He could then upgrade his ramps and runway to concrete, saving further on maintenance and upkeep.
Then A1 Jet fuel, commercial licence and nightflights were reaserched. In the meentime the GA Flights brought in good money from paying overpriced services…oh well…
Herr Hackeschmidt wasn’t keen on leaving those ramps empty during the night. Only after night flights was reaserched did commercial flights start to role in.
Here comes the first commercial flight from Bordeaux with Lufthansa cityline.
Shortly after emergency operations also became available. And all in good time, the first engine failure did not take long. With remoted stand services an emergency stand away from the terminal building was built. Before the coming of winter, a deicing stand was put in place.
In time a total of 9 commercial and four GA stands were built. Also two Cafes and two shops, both with a rating of 2 stars opened at the airport and are running at a profit. It might not be a pretty airport (yet) but at the end of his firts year as CEO, Herr Hackeschmidt is making good profit and could repay his loan. All emergancies were handeled promptly. The ultimate commercial licence is still in research. All the other R&D Projects have been aquired.
He could already purchase a bit of land for his new project – a big medium flights schengen terminal is to start operations in the coming year.
Three events at the closing of his first year made him a bit uneasy though… First a big oil crisis, then a global economic crash and finaly a volcano eruption slowed buisiness significantly and desrupted the airports smooth operations. Could it be that this curse is not so fictional afterall?
Great storytelling, a very interesting read!
Thanx! I‘m glad you liked ist.
Thank you ! That was a great read.
Key point is to have fun while playing!
BTW, I also love the starting development of airport. Despite having 300+ hrs in the game, never reached widebodies yet.
O no no no my dear friend! Herr Hackeschmidt has grand plans for his airport. This is just the beginning. Let us hope that his plans don‘t overwhelm him.
Günther Hackeschmidt sat in his office looking at the rain outside dribbling on what was supposed to be his marvelous new Schengen Terminal for medium flights. How he had gotten himself into this mess, into this schlammasel and more importantly how he was going to get out of it he could , for the life of him, not say. Even at 63 years of age, his full set of blond wavy hair and thick straight-growing beard without a vortex or a gray hair in site used to be the envy of berlins hippsters. Now he has become a chain smoking, 38 mugs of coffee per day drinking, silverheaded wreck. „You really need to reduce your stress level. Stop eating that currywurst with pommes frites 3 times a day and eat a salad from time to time and stop smoking. Even if you do end up in jail, it is not the end of the world“ said his doctor in what he considered to be an empathetic tone.
Ending up in Jail was becoming an ever more realistic prospect. He had taken three loans already.
It had been enough for the most basic of needs to run the airport. A Runway, six medium stands, check in, bagagge, catering, gabage disposal.
Herr Hackeschmidts plan was to have a central building in which check in and security would take place.
After security the passengers would be directed to the corresponding terminal building and possible passportcheck through skybridges or underground tunnels. The entrance would be on floor -1 where all the parking facilities and subway connections would be. Furthermore the self-check in and drop off would also take place here. For the folks that prefere human contact, manned check in desks would be placed on the ground and first floors together with rest rooms, staff facilities, shops and restaurants. Security would be placed on the 2nd floor. To reach the Schengen terminal, the passengers would have to then go down to floor -1 and use the tunnel to get to the other side of the airport. To prevent delays due to the long distance, extra long walkelaters would be placed.
It might seem a bit silly, looking at it in its unfinished state with passengers going up to then go down, but it made perfect sence to Herr Hackeschmidt in the grand scheme of things. A grand scheme that Günther Hackeschmidt dares not dream of anymore.
He remembered a time when he used to play that computer game called airport chairman. He always had traffic problems because he used the stand roads as main routes for the cars to reach thier destination. It lead to horrible traffic jams and flight delays. He wasn’t going to make the same mistake in real life. He devised an intricate system of tunnled one-way roads. Each stand was provided with its own ramp so that the cars needn‘t traverse several stands to get to thier destination. The ramps would have to be strategecally placed opposite the car entrence of the stand. Otherwise the upcoming cars would drive to the end of the stand or the next stand to turn around and will so counteract the whole point. The baggage loading system would also be put underground. It was going to be geat (wasn‘ t there some other dude that used to constantly use that sentense?)
The terminal itself was inspired by Viennas terminal F. A long straight hall with alternating gates, shops, restaurants and such. The airline lounges would be on the top floor so that the passengers could enjoy the view of the airport. The arriving passengers would not mix with the departures. The ground Floor would have the bagagge claim. As an alternative he was thinking of additionaly placing remote stand bording-gates and busstops on that floor.
The departing passengers would use the same long underground tunnel to exit the airport at the western end.
But…. The money was gone, the terminal drafty… In order to repay his loans he had to spice up the airport taxes and prices of services. The airlines were not having it.
Yeah, that’s the trap with loans. When spending loan money - make sure you spend it on something that pays back!
I’ll be sure to tell him
Another great Chapter! Thank you once again
Glad you liked it and stay tuned to find out if there is going to be a turn of events … or will he end up in another schlammasel again?
Günther Hackeschmidt was brought back to reality by the ringing of his phone. Senhor Ackeschmidt? It was Raul, the head administrator. In this story Raul has to be portuguese because my keyboard doesn’t have that „N“ sign with the wavy thingie on top. Raul came actually from Spain, form Galicia, from the town of A Coru(damm it)…
anyway… Raul knew his boss well. A good hearted man, a man of principle with little flexibility and even less diplomatic capabilities. He had heard of the disastrous negotiations with the Lufthansa and Eurowings, not to mention the other airlines. Raul pointed out that since Herr Hackeschmidt has so generously invested in thier training, the administrators should, with thier new aquired skills, try a second round of negotiations. Herr Hackeschmidt had nothing to lose.
A while ago, Herr Hackeschmidt rembered, when money was rolling in, he had decided to further invest in educating and training his administrators. Although he regreted it a bit at the time, not buying that Porsche he so admired instead and driving up and down Kurfürstendamm like a hot shot.
The administrators charmed the big airline bosses. Their rhetorik was on the spot. They had even managed to convince them (how, i have no idea) that by flying to BER they woud even save money in the long run.
And indeed, the flights started coming in. The first flight was with Swiss flying to Monflorite.
Even Lufthansa started offering flights and had sent its A321 in the chic retro livery.
That sly little iberian fox! And to think he wanted to fire Raul because he insisted on having his siesta every day. That was the second decision he was glad he did not make (the first one being buying the porsche).
Maybe rested workers do work more efectivly, hm, who would have thought… He decided he would build enough staffrooms with comfortable seating, vending machines, toillets and even a designated Parking lot for all his workers. And when the time comes, he would even shorten thier shifts for the same salary.
Apart from the airline relations, the administrators were sent to negotiate supplier discounts, animate the passengers to spend more money at the airports venues, reduce the upkeep costs of the airport structures.
Even passanger satisfaction rose. Tha administartors had masked the construction site by building a sort of Potemkin Village.
The airport started brining in money. None of it saw the inside of Herr Hackeschmidts wallet or his bank account for that matter, but he could start repaying his dept. The prospect of going to jail or being a complete failure seemed to have been averted.
He sat in his office drinking his coffee. For the first time in a while he did not feel the urge to sip schnaps in his coffee or light up a cigarette. As he looked outside his window the departing A 321 cast its silhouette on the big round sun setting behind his new schengen terminal.
This was his big break, that he was sure of.
I do love this story.