Ikarus Airport- or a tale about a typical European regional airport


#1

Chapter 1 - How it all began

It is a bright sunny day in the Northern part of Germany, right at the border to Denmark. John Doe, a young graduate from “Give me my certificate University”, just received an E-Mail in his inbox: ‘Do you want to become the CEO of one of the greatest ever airport projects in the world’. Curious as John is, he reads the E-Mail and is completely stunned. There is an international conglomerate of Saudi investors, a North Korean architectural agency, a Sudanese airport operator and the city of Flenshaus in Northern Germany that wants to establish an international MEGAHUB close to Flenshaus. The project is called I K A R U S - short for “Interkontinental Airport of Universal Scale”.

The city of Flenshaus strongly feels that they need their own airport as well. In the end there are airports already in Bremen, Hamburg, Lübeck, Rostock and some dozens of more places in Germany. Most of them are huge loss-makers, but who cares, in the end it is the tax payer’s money, so the mayor of Flenshaus also wants his own airport. And hey, the city is home to the largest collection of Smurfs in the world, this fact certainly will attract a few millions visitors per year. The conglomerate also made some fancy presentations and they expect a catchment area of at least 50 million passengers, well at least if you take a 500 mile radius. The airport should also have all the state-of-the-art facilities and should be profitable within two years after opening.

John Doe continues to read and the conglomerate tells him that they have found just the right place to build the airport. There is an old Airforce field close to the city that has not been used for the last 30 years. It is the perfect place to build the airport the conglomerate envisions. The E-Mail also asks a hypothetical question of ‘Why no one has ever thought about extending the existing field earlier’? Well well well, no one is as smart as the current mayor and his friends from Sudan. Only they possess the mental capacity to envision a great airport at this site, so great, I tell you, it is just great! Best ever airport in the whole wide world!

John knows the site, he went there with his dad when John was younger. It is one of those WWII airfields that have seen much better days. He loved the old aircraft stands in the woods. In the old days, there were MiG21 parked. John never knew who parked them there, but he did not care, they looked cool.

The existing airfield certainly has some nice features. A very loooooong runway and some small stands to the north of the runway, where the fighter jets used to be parked. Originally there were also some hangars built to park the jets, but they were demolished some years ago to build the city hall of Flenshaus. This “Northern Apron” area also has its own little vehicle depot and some small AVGAS fuel depots.

To the south of the runway is the old main tarmac, also called the “Southern Apron”. When the airfield was still operational, this tarmac was used by some C130 Hercules aircraft and every once in a while the US Army came here with their C5A Galaxy freighter aircraft. There are four stands on the tarmac together with some more vehicle depots, a tower building and some huge JetA1 fuel depots. The tower has not been used in a long time, but people who used to work there said, that the tower is as good as new and the technology from the 1950’s can still be used.

Wow… John thought to himself. This is really something. Everything you need for an Interkontinental Airport of Universal Scale is already there. You have a tower that is almost new with state-of-the-art cough technology, some important existing infrastructure, a long runway and some ready-to-be-used aircraft parking positions.

The Sudanese airport operator and the North Korean architecture agency have also already worked out a concept for an initial terminal. It should be built by North Korean freedom workers and be operated by highly trained staff from all around the world. Well English, and for that matter German, is not necessary a language anyone that is supposed to work at the airport speaks, but hey, those German pilots will easily learn some foreign languages to speak to the guys in the tower.

The terminal is planned to be very functional and designed according to the hottest trends in North Korean interior design. It should not cost more than 100.000 EUR, well at least based on the currency exchange rate of the EUR to the KPW (North Korean won) used by the North Koreans. The mayor of Flenshaus can easily afford this sum, hell even 200.000 EUR would be possible. So financing of the project is secured!And then there are still the Saudi investors. Who knows how much money they will give to fund the project. Maybe the airport can even be completely covered in gold with little diamonds in the check-in area to create a feeling of 1001 nights.

John is full of hope that he has the opportunity to start his career as a CEO of such a prestigious project. He replies to the conglomerate that he is thrilled to accept their offer and that he can start tomorrow. After John clicked on the “Send” button, he leans back into his chair and is happy. He thinks to himself “Wow, how lucky am I?”.

Poor John… little does he know what the hell he just agreed to. But that is part of the next chapter.


#2

Very nice intro !
And now i wait for the next chapter…


#3

Chapter 2 - A small beginning

The conglomerate replied to John’s E-Mail within hours, and two days later John had a contract in his Inbox. He should be the new CEO of the IKARUS airport and should in addition be the project manager for the whole development, take care of all regulatory approvals, work in the canteen of the construction site and look after the mayor’s children, while the mayor is travelling on “business” to connect with mayors from other cities, primarily in the Carribean, Hawaii and Australia. John was still excited and instantly signed the deal. He did not care to read the small print.

Some weeks later John met with the mayor for the first time, together with a guy from the North Korean architectural agency and the Sudanese airport operator. They were discussing how the airport should look like and what the operational specifications should be. As no one in this “expert” group has ever constructed an airport, the mayor of Flenshaus has not even been on an airplane in his entire life, they decided to go somewhere to get an impression of how a major airport should look like - correct, Dubai World Central.

After they returned from Dubai it was clear to everyone how the future IKARUS airport in Flenshaus should look like. The airport should have eight parallel runways, two terminals - each being able to handle 75 million passengers per year, ten large maintenance hangars, a world-class cargo and catering facility and at least a dozen hotels of various sizes and quality. In the end, they all shared the same vision of building an “Interkontinental Airport of Universal Scale”. So why think small when you can dream big! And in the end it would be paid for by all sorts of governmental aids, EU funding and last but not least the Saudi investors… btw. where were those guys actually? John has never seen them in person so far, but the mayor ensured John that they were part of the conglomerate and had deeeep pockets.

Once the North Korean’s came up with a construction plan, John got to work and started the project. The plan was to build the airport in phases. Phase 1 to Phase 100 over the timespan of 50 years. To the regular person that sounds like a loooong timeframe, but to the visionary mayor it just meant that they planned with a lot of future potential.

Phase 1 was called “Get things done quickly”. Unfortunately the mayor told the local newspaper that he would open the airport before the next city council elections were coming up, so in 3 months time. So first results had to be presented pronto.

John was still highly confident and eager to start. So the first thing he did as a project manager was to rent a nice office and buy a coffee machine. That being out of the way, the next thing to do was to get the airfield operational again asap. He signed contracts with a Russian fuel company, got in bed with a construction company providing highly-skilled labour from the former Eastern Block and had the Sudanese airport operator guys repair the runway and get the tower back in shape.

After a couple of days of cleaning the whole site, all the necessary repair works and some fresh paint, John and the mayor stood in front of a group of journalists from all over the world - in reality there were two journalists from the local news and a homeless person hoping to get some free food - to celebrate the official opening of the the IKARUS Flenshaus airport. Just in time for the photoshooting a first aircraft landed, a Cessna 182 carrying a breathtaking two passengers. John and the mayor did not really care, passengers are passengers and although the initial Phase 1 has already cost 100.000 EUR (remember the original projected costs for the entire airport?), this first arrival had to pay 42,56 EUR for landing and arrival fees. At the end of the day all of the old military aircraft parking stands were occupied with big-bucks-paying General Aviation enthusiasts that were sooooo happy that finally there is an airport in this region, because there are so few around here.

Within the first week, the new airport already amassed a whopping 1.400,78 EUR in landing and arrival fees. A truly brilliant project being on the brink of becoming a major economic success. With this great news, John started to apply for government grants and EU funding. He was sure that such a great project, that is so valuable to the greater European community, ahhhh, the whole world, would receive lots of money. A couple of weeks later John received the first funds from the local state and from a EU fund for infrastructural development of very rural areas - that apparently have massive catchment areas to cater for an airport of that size cough. The total sum John received was just shy of 5 million EUR. John thought that those bloody bureaucrats have no idea what an amazing opportunity they are missing out on, but hey, at least it would be enough for the initial phase. And maybe the Saudi investor would add some petro-money as well.

With an initial funding secured, Phase 2 was able to be started. Internally it was called “Project Sunrise”. Why? Because every project must have some stupid names as otherwise they are not projects and will never be successful. During this phase the initial terminal building was ought to be constructed together with the necessary supporting landside and airside infrastructure. In order to save costs, those darn Saudi investors were not reachable under the number John had received from the mayor before, as much of the existing infrastructure should be used and only the very basic requirements should be built.

And although the airport later on should have at least 10 stands that can handle an Airbus A380 with three jetways on two floors, initially the IKARUS airport would only offer bus gates for passengers and facilitate the four existing aircraft stands.

While construction was ongoing, John sat in his office and had one of those brilliant coffees. He was happy with himself and how the whole project developed. If only John knew what was going to happen to his airport and himself.


#4

Love it!


#5

Mee too i love it !!
hooked now lol lol


#6

Chapter 3 - Regulations, Environmentalists and the Mafia

It had just been a couple of days since construction of the terminal started when John entered the construction site one morning just to find a group of men in grey suits and with a grim look on their face. He introduced himself to the group just to be told that those men belong to the local bureau of infrastructure and construction. Apparently neither John, nor the mayor, nor anyone else from the conglomerate ever thought about telling the right authorities about their airport project.

John’s initial thoughts were that it could not be that bad. He would probably just have to sign somewhere on a dotted line and construction could continue… well John was so wrong. The airport is situated in Germany after all, so one cannot simply build a building without an official permit, no shed in your garden and certainly not a five million Euro airport terminal. The men in grey told John that construction would have to stop immediately and can only continue, if at all, once all necessary documents have been signed and approved. John lost all the colour in his face and had to sit down. After asking how long the men thought this process would take, they replied that it can normally be achieved rather quickly, well in German bureaucratic terms, so within five to six years! WHAT THE FIFFY? FIVE TO SIX YEARS? John screamed at the men and called them animal names. In the end John had to surrender and construction stopped. The mayor, currently on a business trip in Bangkok in order to learn about how to bring more whores… ehhh… tourists into your city, was furious at John and his inabilities to handle bureaucrats the right way. John asked himself what the right way meant.

Some weeks later the mayor told John that construction could continue. He used the right way to apply for all necessary documents and approvals. But if they ever do something like this again, the airport would be closed immediately and probabaly forever!

With this hurdle out of the way construction continued and John was able to recruit some more workers, they definitely did not come from anywhere close to Germany, probably not even from the European continent. It did not matter, as long as the terminal building was going to be finished as soon as possible.

Two months later, John was happy. The terminal building had been finished, well at least the basic structure. Everything else, like interiors, a working fire extinguishing system or any internal infrastructure was still missing. From the fiasco at BER - Berlin International Airport, John knew that these damn fire extinguishing systems are pretty important to be able to use the terminal. Good that the mayor knew someone, who has a son that works for someone who is related to a janitor working for the biggest airport construction company in the world. Through this almost direct family contact, the conglomerate was able to get some of the necessary external infrastructure for a small fee which was paid for by the city of Flenshaus directly, via the mayor’s account! “Sounds weird” thought John, but hey what did he know about politics and “family business”.

With the external construction almost finished, John also looked at getting some more help in his daily job. He looked for some more managers in his team. Initially a “Procurement Manager” should do the work, as well as maybe a CFO. There should be at least one person in the team that could count up to 100 without making a mistake.

John was so happy that finally everything was working out like planned. Or was it? Some days before the North Korean architectural agency was supposed to present their plans for the interior of the terminal, John saw a group of hippies in front of his office. First he thought it was one of those common leftist/greenist/communist demonstrations against something, maybe against animal tests, the inequality between monkeys and lions or something else. When John listened closer to what the group was shouting, he realized that they were demonstrating against his aiport. Apparently an environmental group called PAEAE - short for People Against Everything And Everyone - found out that there is an endangered species of hedgehogs living on the premises where the terminal had been constructed. John did not really take them serious and continued his work. Well, at least until two weeks later he received a letter from the Federal Bureau of Family, Social Matters, Environment, Nature and everything else that is capable of stopping infrastructure projects. They requested the stop of any further construction, internal or external, with immediate effect.

John started to get angry that there again was something keeping him from finishing Phase 2 of his project. He called the mayor to ask him what he should do in order to do it the right way. The mayor said that he unfortunately could not take care of it himself, as he was at an important conference in the Bahamas to learn how to embezzle money … ehhh … how to invest federal funds in the best way possible for the greater good of humanity. The mayor sent him a number, though, and told him to call that guy, his name is Giacometti Infantino and he owns a Pizzeria in Flenshaus, he will do it the right way.

John did as he had been told by the mayor. When he called Giacometti, someone responded with “Pronto, what you want? Number 6 and 12 are out”. After John provided the details about his “problem” and that the mayor told him to call Giacometti, Giacometti just said “No problemo signore John, the Don will do it the right way!”. By now John really asked himself what he was missing about doing it the right way. Two weeks after the call John read in the newspaper that a group of environmental activist was found dead in the stomach of three lions in the local zoo. How they got into the lion’s enclosure, no one knew, but John could not care less. With those acitivist gone, the construction stop was no longer applicable as well.

After all the delays of the project John was happy to finally move forward and present to the conglomerate the updated plans from the North Koreans for the interior of the terminal, called Phase 3 “Project Great Leader”. The plans were based on state-of-the-art design from North Korea, coupled with a Northern German touch (at least according to what the North Koreans claimed to be Norther German design). The conglomerate was very happy with John and the progress he made. Soon they all would be looking at one of the best airports in the world, a true IKARUS project! Providing millions of passengers a month with an efficient gateway with all the luxury one can think of.

The results were, well…sobering.

The check-in area featured a modern seating area and a floor covered with tiles that cost 4,99 EUR per square-meter, so the most expensive luxury line one could buy at the local hardware store.

The boarding area was not much better. Each bus gate featured two boarding desks and extermely uncomfortable seating areas.

In the end John thought that the terminal actually wasn’t that bad after all, they would later sell it as an extravagant terminal with a minimalistic design in order not to disturb passengers from the shiny metal planes. The passengers would anyway not care as they would be happy to have a non-stop connection to New York, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro and Khartoum… wait Khartoum? Yes, in the end the airport operator is from Sudan, so there should be a non-stop connection.

Now that the airport was ready for business the only thing left to do for John was to wait for all the phone calls from airlines from all over the world requesting landing slots for flights to Flenshaus Airport. Well, at least so John thought. He could not have been more wrong!


#7

STILL GREAT ! bravo…


#8

This is great! Loving it!


#9

Love it! When will the next installment be?